How opioid prescription laws are challenging EHR vendors

States are increasingly passing laws requiring electronic prescriptions of controlled substances, but such laws require new technological capabilities, and EHR vendors have to keep up with the changes.

Following New York's I-STOP law and Minnesota's electronic prescription requirements, Maine recently signed a bill requiring opioid prescribers to participate in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and electronically submit opioid prescriptions.

"In true federalist style, each state is addressing the [opioid crisis] in unique ways and are calling upon the EHRs and e-prescribing systems to fall into line in new and different ways," wrote Connie Sinclair, director of the RegulatoryResourceCenter of health IT management consultancy Point-of-Care Partners in Coral Springs, Fla., in a HIStalk post. "This notification requirement…will require a different type of interoperability between pharmacy and EHR than what exists in practice today."

States operate their own prescription drug monitoring programs, but as the opioid crisis grows, states are seeking to integrate PDMPs into EHRs, as well as share this data with neighboring states, Ms. Sinclair wrote.

"States will continue to introduce bills for new mandates to address the opiate crisis. The challenge for EHRs and practitioners is that each state seems to put its own twist on their laws," Ms. Sinclair wrote. "Vendors will be challenged to keep up with this developing patchwork of regulation and determine how to facilitate workflows that will help their prescriber clients with compliance.

More articles on the opioid crisis:

An Epic go-live, the opioid crisis and more: Mass General's CNO weighs in 
What physicians think about the opioid crisis: 5 survey takeaways 
Alaska medical board suspends license of physician over painkiller prescriptions 

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