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CDC to interview dentists on state prescription drug monitoring programs

Dentists who participate in their state's prescription drug monitoring program may be asked their opinion by the Centers for Disease Control on how well the program is integrating and using the data electronically.

To encourage more health care providers to participate in their respective state's prescription drug monitoring program and reduce prescription drug abuse and overdose, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funded projects in nine states to determine how well the programs are working. SAMHSA funded the projects through its PDMP Electronic Health Records Integration and Interoperability Expansion cooperative agreement program. The goal of the PEHRIIE program is to increase the number of providers using their state's prescription drug monitoring program by improving real-time access to the PDMP program by integrating the data and the access of it within health information exchanges, electronic health records systems and/or pharmacy dispensing software, according to a CDC notice requesting comments on the proposed surveys.

Prescription drug monitoring programs are state electronic databases that collect information on dispensed substances and distribute the data to authorized individuals who use it professionally.

"Ultimately, when providers access a patient's EHR, they will have automatic access to that patient's up-to-date prescription history within the course of their normal clinical workflow, thereby obviating the time and effort otherwise needed to access the PDMP and obtain the information separately from the patient's medical record," the notice said. "Similarly, when a pharmacist calls up patient information via the PDS, the patient's prescription history from the PDMP will be automatically compiled, allowing for expedited access and review prior to dispensing."

The other goal of the PEHRIIE program is to increase the quality of the PDMP data by improving the interoperability of prescription drug monitoring programs across state lines. When providers access a patient's prescription history from their state database, information from other state programs will automatically be included. 

The CDC is charged with evaluating the PEHRIIE program and plans to interview those who implemented the program and health care providers, including dentists, who participate.

"[The] CDC believes that the most effective interventions in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic include those designed to identify and address high risk patients at a stage when their risky behaviors can be most effectively addressed," the CDC report said. "Strong yet accessible PDMPs that promote proactive patient interventions are a critical component of this high-risk focused strategy. By enabling providers to identify high-risk patients at the point of care, via improved access to and use of PDMPs and improved comprehensiveness of PDMP data, providers can intervene with patients and address their high-risk behaviors, including providing or redirecting patients to substance abuse treatment as necessary. Through this evaluation, the CDC will better understand the impact of PDMP integration and interoperability in the funded states."

In 2009, drug overdose deaths became the leading cause of injury death in the United States, exceeding motor vehicle traffic crash deaths for the first time, a trend that continued into 2010, according to the CDC. The number of overdose deaths per year involving opioid pain relievers increased four-fold from 1999 to 2010, from 4,030 people to 16,651, outnumbering overdose deaths involving all illicit drugs combined.

Prescription drug monitoring programs will be among  the topics at the ADA's Conference on Dentist Health and Well-Being Sept. 19-20 at ADA Headquarters in Chicago. Attendees can also hear from experts on opioid prescribing issues and addiction prevention.

To register for the conference, call 1-312-440-2500. The ADA also encourages members to take advantage of discounts on Chicago hotels for their conference stay. Visit the website to view rates and reserve a room.