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Ochsner Health System Integrates Prescription Drug Monitoring Tool into EHR

January 10, 2018
by Heather Landi
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Across the country, state governments have developed prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to better track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs and are viewed as promising state-level interventions to improve opioid prescribing.

Healthcare providers utilize PDMPs, which are electronic databases, as a tool to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion and many health systems are focused on integrating PDMP data with prescriber workflow to support more informed clinical decisions.

Ochsner Health System, one of the largest independent academic health systems in the U.S. and Louisiana’s largest not-for-profit health system, is utilizing a tool that has enabled the integration of state PDMP information directly into its Epic electronic health records (EHRs). Working with Appriss Health, Ochsner implemented the vendor’s PMP Gateway solution will enables clinicians to access a patient’s prescription history directly within their EHR system.

According to the health system, prior to the implementation of the solution, physicians and pharmacists had to log into a separate website to retrieve a patient’s controlled substance dispensations from the state database and then cross-reference that data with a patient’s health information, which can be a very time-consuming process.

 “The purpose of this important initiative is to provide near-instant and seamless access to critical prescription information to all prescribers and pharmacists across our health system. By doing this, we are creating a more complete picture of our patients as we make better informed clinical decisions about their appropriate medical treatment, while engaging in more ‘real’ conversations with our patients about their health and well-being,” Debbie Simonson, Pharm.D., vice president of pharmacy services, Ochsner Health System, said in a statement. “We know that the PDMP has proven to be an effective tool for helping to stop the disease of addiction before it can start.”

 “As we strive to build a culture of patient safety and continued quality improvement at Ochsner, we believe that PMP Gateway will help to increase overall utilization of PDMP information. And, that integrating PDMP information into clinical workflow helps to ensure that medication is prescribed safely and patients are properly cared for,” Richard D. Guthrie, Jr., M.D., chief quality officer, Ochsner Health System, said. “We know that Louisiana is the sixth-highest opioid prescribing state in the U.S. However, this is not a ‘do not prescribe project.’ This is about best managing our patients, their pain and mitigating their risk. We trust that this critical initiative can and will effectively improve and save lives across all of the communities that we serve.”


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