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Prescription drug monitoring is vital to patient outcomes and is often a requirement for the successful completion of treatment plans. However, the healthcare industry has seen an upswing in patients struggling with prescription management. Patients may struggle to manage prescriptions independently, so seeking assistance from a qualified healthcare professional is paramount for effective monitoring.
Software developers have enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs). This electronic database tracks controlled substance prescriptions within a state and is designed to monitor patients efficiently and promote efficient communication among several healthcare providers. A PDMP can be an invaluable resource that healthcare professionals can utilize to mitigate prescription drug abuse and create proactive, positive patient outcomes.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an increase in prescription drug abuse, prompting the healthcare industry to review and re-evaluate monitoring and treatment plans. State and federal legislative efforts to mitigate prescription drug abuse have yielded some positive results but additional resources, such as enhanced technology to enable healthcare professionals with additional resources to better assist patients are a welcome resource when further examining effective prescription drug management strategies.
Prescription Management Software (PMS) was designed and implemented for pharmacies to effectively communicate with patients and offer additional insight on prescriptions. However, the features focused more on merely streamlining the refill and pickup process and not on patient outcomes. The following features were incorporated within a PMS.
Enabled secure patient/customer communication via texts, and phone calls. Software enhancements were used to automate the ordering process of medications.
Automated dosage reminders
Automated prescription refill reminder
PMS utilized software to overhaul the prescription process but did not offer enough features for a robust resource to effectively monitor patients and prescription drugs. The resource enabled pharmacies to efficiently manage prescription inventory and streamline customer/patient service but more steps were needed to review and properly monitor prescription drugs.
Prescription drug monitoring programs utilize basic features of a PMS but the program has been enhanced to be a database with access to critical, real-time data such as a patient’s prescribing history. This is a key feature in the struggle to mitigate prescription drug abuse because ‘drug seeking behavior’ includes visiting several healthcare providers to receive prescriptions, and succeeding due to many providers not being able to communicate within one central database.
An optimized PDMP enables any provider utilizing the database to access a patient’s prescribing history of controlled substances. Healthcare professionals can use this vital piece of data to make a more informed decision when dispensing medications, or refuse to prescribe the medication if a patient exhibits dangerous signs.
Software developers seeking to partner with healthcare companies wishing to customize an existing PDMP should focus on the following features.
Seamless EHR integration. Healthcare providers can provide PDMP access to multiple health personnel, ensuring all members of a treatment plan are properly versed in all aspect of a patient’s care. Streamlining communication creates an efficient process for all registered providers. PDMPs can be designed to be HL7 compliant.
Real-time data. After a healthcare provider or pharmacist dispenses a controlled substance, the information and data is entered into the PDMP. If a PDMP, which can also be granted access by state officials, is equipped by software developers to process and store large volumes of data the system enables quick access of prescriptions.
Detailed record organization of prescribed drugs; controlled substance prescription records, pharmacologic class, and patient opioid overdose history.
Software developers have broadened the scope of PDMPs, enabling more streamlined communication between health providers, facilitation of more effective prescription monitoring, and real-time access to data points, the enhancements prove invaluable to the medical community and perhaps law enforcement.
Prescription drug abuse can result in devastating and far-reaching consequences for communities. Law enforcement agencies have struggled to mitigate prescription drug abuse and, despite some positive outcomes, still seek new resources to reach their goals.
PDMPs have been utilized by law enforcement agencies, such as the DEA, to monitor the number of individuals with controlled substance opioid prescriptions in communities. Certain states require healthcare professionals administering opioid prescriptions to enter the data into a PDMP database, which law enforcement agencies can access to examine further any patients vulnerable to overdose or physicians that may overprescribe controlled substances.
The PDMP database enables law enforcement a new avenue to look for trends in opioid prescriptions and patient vulnerabilities. Still, legal scholars and patient rights advocates have debated if overreliance on PDMPs threatens doctor/patient confidentiality and other pertinent patient rights.
Efficient communication is paramount for healthcare professionals when designing and implementing patient care plans. Significant increases in prescription drug addiction have had the healthcare industry reevaluate how controlled substances and opioids are prescribed, how patients respond, and how healthcare providers monitor patients and partner with law enforcement to mitigate prescription abuse.
PDMPs provide the healthcare industry with another resource to ultimately boost effective communication among providers and enable them another resource to manage patient outcomes. Law enforcement agencies may leverage PDMPs as yet another tool to be utilized in efforts to mitigate controlled substance abuse, thanks to easy access to detailed data.
PDMPs can be considered a positive tool for facilitating patient outcomes and enabling healthcare professionals to streamline prescription drug monitoring. Software providers will continue having a strong market for building integrated PDMP solutions as several states continue mandating providers utilize the programs.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
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