When doctors have access to a broader view of a person’s health, they’re better able to deliver informed care that addresses the “whole” patient. The ability for providers to share comprehensive patient information digitally is an important tool for improving health outcomes. While Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) were originally intended to help prevent opioid abuse and overprescribing, they also enable physicians to provide more integrated care. (In some states, PDMPs are known as Prescription Monitoring Programs, or PMPs.)
PDMPs are state-based electronic databases of controlled substances dispensed to patients from different providers in their state. By accessing the PDMP, prescribers are able to view a patient’s past and current medication history.
A brief history of the PDMP
PDMPs have been around for more than a century. However, the first electronic transmission to a state from a pharmacy occurred in Oklahoma in 1990. Then in 1995, Nevada became the first state to require a PDMP to collect data for Scheduled II through V controlled substances. States have slowly continued to add PDMPs and as of May 2021, all 50 states, D.C., and Guam have operational PDMPs after the Missouri State Legislature gave final approval to implement a statewide SB 63 PDMP bill.
How do PDMPs work?
When a pharmacist fills a prescription for a controlled substance, they enter information into the state PDMP. Time requirements for data entry vary by state, but the goal is for pharmacists to enter this information in real-time so it’s immediately available for prescribers.
Then when a physician prescribes certain controlled substances, he or she reviews patient information in their state PDMP. This helps the physician identify patients who are receiving:
- Opioids and controlled substances from multiple providers and/or pharmacies
- Other substances that may increase the risk of opioids, for example, benzodiazepines
- Medications that might cause a harmful interactions
With this information, physicians can avoid prescribing medications that may lead to adverse drug effects (including addiction and accidental overdose). It also gives them the ability to check for possible medication misuse or “doctor shopping.”
PDMPs are state-based, so providers may need to be licensed in multiple PDMPs to see the “full” patient story. For example, a patient in Washington, D.C. may use a pharmacy or doctor in nearby Virginia or Maryland. Check with your state’s health department for complete information.
Where are PDMPs required?
Most states have mandated the use of PDMPs as shown in this map from the PEW Charitable Trusts.
Registering for a PDMP
Each state has its own process for obtaining access to the PDMP/PMP, and not all allow registration for multiple states at once. Contact your state’s health department for more information on registration and interstate data sharing partnerships.
RXNT offers direct access to state PDMP through a connection with Bamboo Health (formerly Appriss Health). RXNT is one of the few companies offering this feature. It’s conveniently integrated into RXNT’s Electronic Health Records (EHR), Electronic Prescribing (eRx), and Full Suite solutions—so there’s no interruption to a provider’s workflow.