Health Policy Briefs

Recommendations to Optimize Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs for use in Emergency Department
Margaret Greenwood-Ericksen, MD; Scott Weiner, MD; and Jeremiah Schuur, MD

The United States faces an epidemic of opioid addiction, overdose, and death fueled by prescription drug abuse. This is of particular concern to those who practice emergency medicine (EM) as pain is a primary reason for emergency department (ED) visits. One challenge is that emergency providers lack continuity of care and knowledge about the medical history of ED patients. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), searchable online patient databases of controlled substances (e.g. opioids), have been identified as a key tool in identifying at-risk patients and thereby reducing abuse, overdose, and death. PDMPs are underutilized in the ED due to regulatory limitations and PDMP design is at odds with the time pressures of patient care in the ED. It is not known how PDMPs can be optimized for use in EDs. This policy brief addresses potential ways to improve PDMPs to facilitate their use in the ED setting, summarizing findings of an expert panel. Continue Reading…