Pennsylvania Offers Program to Help Health Systems Integrate EHRs with PDMP | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Pennsylvania Offers Program to Help Health Systems Integrate EHRs with PDMP

October 26, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is integrating the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) into health systems’ electronic health records (EHRs) and pharmacy systems, backed by $3.8 million in federal grants.

The program will cover health care organizations’ cost to connect their EHRs and other health IT systems to the PDMP, with funding available through August 2019.

According to the state, the goal is to minimize any workflow disruption by providing near-instant and seamless access to critical prescription history information to both prescribers and pharmacists.

“This integration makes the PDMP even easier for health care providers to use,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement. “Critical information about a patient’s opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions will be accessible seamlessly from the patient’s electronic medical record. Through federal grants, we are able to cover the cost of IT integration so that health care organizations can participate.”

In September, the Department of Health secured $3.8 million in federal grants over the next three years for the integration of EHRs and pharmacy management systems with the PDMP. Interested health care organizations can visit the department’s site to learn more and are encouraged to apply using the Integration Request Form.

“The PDMP is a vital early-warning tool to help health care providers identify patients who may be developing an opioid-use disorder,” Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Rachel Levine, M.D., said in a statement. “Any health care provider in Pennsylvania that is legally authorized to prescribe, administer or dispense controlled substances is eligible for the program. This includes ambulatory care units, acute care facilities, emergency care units, physician practices, pharmacies, drug treatment facilities and others.”

The PDMP has also expanded interstate communication to see if patients have filled controlled substance prescriptions in Maine. Existing communication partnerships are shared with Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C. Additionally, a one-way sharing connection has been established with Maryland, enabling their program users to search the PA PDMP.

The PDMP collects Schedule II-V controlled substances data and stores it in a secure database only available to health care professionals and others as authorized by law. This system also assists prescribers in referring patients with the disease of addiction to appropriate treatment. More than 97,000 users are registered in the PDMP, performing 1.1 million searches each month.

Meaningful Use (MU) provides incentive payments to eligible professionals (EP) and eligible hospitals (EH) that are able to demonstrate the "meaningful use" of electronic health records technology. According to state officials, the PA PDMP meets the definition of a specialized registry. EPs and EHs can meet the MU Stage 2 Specialized Registry objective by completing the following objective: Successful ongoing submission of patient identifiers to the PDMP system and receipt of corresponding PDMP data using Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT).

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