I’m in a PDMP State of Mind

Provider consultation

The HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition doesn’t end when the convention center doors close. Attendees leave with knowledge from educational sessions, speakers and networking that can be applied to the real world, creating an ongoing, year-round experience. HIMSS asked attendees to share the personal and professional successes that stemmed from attending conference – from challenges faced to changes made. Read on to learn about the value of attending HIMSS Global Conference from the unique perspective of our members and partners.

Like many of you, I’ve been in healthcare for years and have seen the “next new thing” come and then fade away – in place of the next new thing. I’ve seen whitepapers, and journey maps, mind maps, environmental scans; you name it.

While these are interesting and useful ways to expand one’s understanding of a topic, I yearned to do something practical. Something that clinicians can really use in their daily life – to help their patients and their practices.

PDMPs and the Opioid Crisis

I’ve always been a hands-on sort of person, and as our HIMSS Health Information and Technology User Experience (HIT UX) Committee was formulating upcoming goals, I thought it would be good for us to produce something tangible. Something you can hold in your hand and that we can give to our audience to assist them in a challenge they face today.

One of the themes that ran through our meetings was that good UX isn’t a luxury; good UX is critical to patient safety. A fatal allergy buried fifteen clicks deep in the electronic health record (EHR) poses a real danger to the patient.

We asked providers, “What are some of the most important data points we could surface that would assist the clinician at the point of care?” The answer came back, “Timely and easy access to a patient’s opioid prescription history.”

As most of you know, all states (except Missouri) maintain a state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database. It is generally called a PDMP, but has similar names in various states.

Opioid Policy Webinars

Leveraging Health IT to Mitigate the Opioid Crisis: Policy Landscape and Steps Forward
Part 1 of 3: Listen to the webinar
Part 2 of 3: Listen to the webinar
Part 3 of 3: Listen to the webinar

Taking a Deeper Dive into PDMPs

Our committee was able to harness the reach and prestige of the HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition to reach out to various organizations, vendors and individuals to categorize and organize the facets of the issue. We had EHR vendors and associations, clinicians and health systems, PDMP database vendors, and elected officials.

A visit with the HIMSS EHR Association confirmed what we understood – that all of the major EHR vendors supported a direct query to a state PDMP, and the ability to display a patient’s history within the prescribing workflow.

As we began to work with state governments, boards of pharmacy and health departments, we learned just how wide the state-to-state variation is on this important topic. Some states allow direct query, others do not. Some states have contracted with their PDMP vendor to allow providers statewide access at no charge. Some states allow across-state-line data sharing, while others do not.

RELATED: Tackling the Opioid Epidemic with Information & Innovation

A Guide to Integrating PDMP Data into an EHR

With all this information gathered at the HIMSS Global Conference, we knew we had to harness the power and advocacy of providers. We knew as leaders in their communities, they have close relationships with state legislators and regulators, and can – better than anyone else – explain how timely access to this information is critical to battling the opioid crisis.

To encourage providers to advocate for this, we developed an education and advocacy piece, Reducing Physician Burden, Improving Patient Safety. This is an executive summary of the problem and proposed solution. It is designed to be understood by everyone from a practicing clinician to someone completely unfamiliar with the topic. It can also be used during advocacy days for both state and federal legislatures.

After our work was published, our committee went on the road to explain and share the work. Our publication was shared at a Health and Human Services Pain Management Task Force meeting and by health associations. We continue to advance the important work of connecting PDMPs and EHRs, not only for the healthcare community, but also for the health and safety of patients and our nation.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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