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Combatting the Opioid Crisis Through PDMP EHR Integrations

PDMP EHR integrations can address barriers to accessing PDMP data to inform clinical practice and improve opioid prescribing, ONC officials say.

As the drug overdose crisis continues to grow, an interactive tool from CDC and ONC aims to improve opioid prescribing by helping support Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) EHR integrations.

“Clinician use of PDMPs is a promising state-level intervention to improve opioid prescribing, inform clinical practice, and support safer and more effective patient care,” ONC officials Lolita Kachay, Jawanna Henry, and Wes Sargent wrote in a HealthITBuzz blog post.

“Integrating PDMP data into EHR systems addresses barriers to accessing and using PDMP data to help inform clinical practice to improve opioid prescribing,” they explained.

The Integration Framework from CDC and ONC provides guidance on project execution, management, and communication for successful integrations and contains the following resources:

  • Quick Start Guide: context and background on terms, acronyms, and other technical and non-technical language used in integration planning
  • Integration Taxonomy: a variety of approaches for state PDMP integration
  • Training Guidance: addresses common questions raised during the project
  • Auditing Guidance: tips relevant to recording transactions for PDMP-EHR integrations
  • MOU Guidance: gives critical topics and points for consideration in developing PDMP-EHR data integration and sharing agreements
  • Testing Guidance: outlines test scenarios for integration sites to conduct testing before integration
  • Testing Template: templates that may be helpful for testing documentation

The ONC and CDC project team partnered with eight health systems across five states to help inform the development of the framework.

Six health systems in three states served as PDMP-EHR integration technical demonstration sites: Baptist Health System (KY), Grace Health (KY), Utah Navajo Health System (UT), Blue Mountain Hospital (UT), Nemaha County Hospital (NE), and Ponca Health Services (NE).

Two other health systems (the University of Colorado Denver/UC Health and the University of Washington) served as proof-of-concept test sites to explore the feasibility of statewide implementation of electronic CDS tools.

ONC and CDC developed the electronic CDS tools using the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, which the CDC is currently updating.

The forthcoming 2022 Guideline will provide recommendations for pain care clinicians that aim to enhance communication between providers and patients.  

“CDC plans to release a suite of translation and communication resources to facilitate effective implementation,” the ONC officials said. “In addition, CDC will refine and update the electronic CDS tools based on the final recommendations included in the forthcoming 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline.”

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