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Confronting the Opioid Epidemic

Customers connect Epic with prescription drug monitoring systems

In the midst of the national opioid crisis, many healthcare organizations are looking to technology to help combat opioid abuse and prevent overdoses. The development of state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) allows physicians access to a comprehensive record of patients’ controlled substance prescriptions. 26 states require that physicians review PDMP information before prescribing opioids, and in some states this has reduced drug-seeking behavior by 75%.

Since PDMPs are housed outside of the EHR, accessing this information isn’t always easy. Many providers have to leave the EHR and navigate through a series of webpages to find a patient’s relevant prescription history, which can discourage providers from using the PDMP when prescribing a controlled substance. To make PDMP information more accessible, Epic has worked with more than 20 organizations across five states to integrate PDMP data into multiple places within the EHR.

University of Colorado Hospital, for example, is running a pilot in their ED in which they pull information from the Colorado PDMP to help physicians understand when a patient might be at risk of prescription misuse. Yale New Haven Health, similarly, has connected Connecticut’s PDMP and Epic so that physicians can clearly see a patient’s risk of overdose, and organizations across the Epic community are working on other projects to address the opioid epidemic.

Read more about Yale New Haven Health’s project here, the UCHealth and CU project here. Members of the Epic community can read more about opioid management recommendations here and join the conversation on UserWeb.