Lack of interoperability could derail opioid Rx monitoring efforts, says advocacy group

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Prescription drug monitoring programs have been demonstrated to reduce the number of opioid-related overdose deaths, but programs largely operate within state borders, meaning a patient can theoretically move from state to state to fill opioid prescriptions and databases wouldn't pick up on that activity. This, according to advocacy group Health IT Now, illustrates a need for nationwide standards to create an interoperable PDMP program.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Health IT Now urged Congress to support efforts for interoperable standards for PDMP programs.

"We are concerned that without clear direction from Congress on how states should implement standards for an interoperable PDMP program, some states may create new and disparate standards for interoperability," according to the letter. "Pulling together information from all states is…needed to prevent cross-border shopping activity."

Specifically, the letter recommends the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, which permits HHS to award grants to address the opioid and heroin epidemics, be amended so priority consideration for grant funds goes to states using accepted electronic healthcare standards "such as those developed by the National Council of Prescription Drug Programs."

Using such nationwide standards will allow for real-time information exchange between PDMP programs, which is essential for addressing the opioid epidemic, according to Health IT Now.

More articles on interoperability:

Health IT tip of the day: Analytics can fill the interoperability gap in healthcare 
The 'digital dystopia': 4 thoughts from AMA CEO Dr. James Madara 
AHA suggests redefining the scope of interoperability 

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