Wisconsin Eliminates Cost Barriers for ePDMP EHR Integration

To enhance provider access, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services removed costs associated with an ePDMP EHR integration.

Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services, Dawn Crim, has eliminated cost barriers that could potentially prevent an Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (ePDMP) EHR integration, according to a report from wispolitics.com.

In 2018, a Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Controlled Substances Board survey found that few providers were taking advantage of all features of the ePDMP system. By removing start-up and monthly fees, the department hopes to expand provider access to ePDMP, a key tool in combatting the opioid epidemic.

The ePDMP is a state-run electronic database that assembles pharmacy and patient data from Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) controlled substances and prescription drugs. PDMPs help prescribers keep track of patients at high risk of becoming opioid-dependent. This one in Wisconsin is digital and integrates into provider EHRs.

In addition, statistics and data visualizations from the ePDMP help inform policy discussions and decisions, the press release stated.

“The ePDMP gives us invaluable information about opioids and other prescription drugs in Wisconsin, and we use that information to help guide decision making on programs and services we offer and the policies we support and implement,” Karen Timberlake, Department of Health Services Secretary-designee said in a public statement. “Expanding ePDMP use will give us more complete data, leading to more informed decisions and more effective programs and services.”

The ePDMP Integration Services was developed in partnership with NIC Wisconsin, allowing healthcare organizations of all sizes to benefit from enhanced access to the ePDMP. 

The integration allows users to access ePDMP functionality through their EHR instead of logging into it through a separate browser window, which streamlines efficiency and decreases workflow burden. 

“We work closely with health systems as they are making decisions about whether to integrate and supporting them once they’ve completed their integration,” said NIC Wisconsin Director of Operations Chad Zadrazil. 

“As we worked with the Department of Safety and Professional Services on ongoing improvements that could expand access and usage of the ePDMP, we realized that we could make a significant impact by eliminating the costs of integration—both the initial and the ongoing fees,” Zadrazil further explained.

The department funded this effort by using resources it secured through strategic budgeting and a US Department of Justice Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program grant of over $1.6 million.

“This was a strategic decision in our budget request and our grant application, and I am pleased that our success will mean that the ePDMP will be more accessible to more healthcare professionals in Wisconsin,” Secretary Crim said. 

“The ePDMP is critical to the state’s opioid response, and it is far more effective when more providers are using it, Crim continued. “Eliminating these fees will fuel further expansion across the state, particularly with healthcare organizations that saw the cost as a barrier.”

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