Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP)


The Opioid Epidemic


According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid addiction claims 115 lives and sends more than 1,000 people to emergency rooms every day. Opioids killed 64,000 people in 2016, and drug-overdose and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase. In fact, opioid overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old.

Prescription opioids are a main factor in the crisis. Although there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain reported by Americans, opioid prescriptions have quadrupled since 1999.

The need to prevent and detect opioid misuse, abuse, and diversion by patients, while still making controlled substances available to patients for legitimate pain management, has resulted in new government mandates, and a need for new technologies that help provide physicians with the necessary intelligence to inform their prescribing decision-making.

How PDMPs Help

PDMPs are state-run drug-monitoring programs that collect and track controlled-substance prescriptions in a searchable database. They provide physicians with intelligence about prescribing and patient behavior that can help them make appropriate prescribing decisions.

  • Almost all states have some type of PDMP set up or in development.
  • Prescribers (physicians) and dispensers (pharmacies) provide information to the PDMP and have access to patients’ controlled-substance Rx histories from the PDMP to help them make clinical (Rx) decisions and allow for intervention at the point of care.
  • Clinicians are the gatekeepers for providing safe, appropriate treatment, and for preventing inappropriate access to prescription opioids.

How HCIT Improves PDMPs’ Effectiveness

As the opioid epidemic escalates, physicians and clinicians are actively seeking tools and resources to help detect and prevent opioid misuse, abuse, and diversion by patients through the use of multiple providers. Healthcare IT solutions, such as SRS Health’s EHR with integrated PDMP checking, offer access to prescription decision-making intelligence at the point of care, and dramatically reduce the time it takes to complete PDMP checks.

Healthcare IT:

  • is increasingly used to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery, patient safety, care coordination, and patient-centered care;
  • increases the likelihood of compliance, physician adherence to treatment protocols, and safety of prescriptions; and
  • improves outcomes by reducing inappropriate opioid prescribing, and decreasing overdoses.

The combined efforts of federal and state regulators and healthcare IT vendors to support physicians in making informed prescribing decisions are a powerful force in the fight to reverse the opioid epidemic. To ensure you are prepared, find a healthcare IT vendor who is ready to support informed decision-making, and be sure to check federal and state mandates frequently.


[1] CDC: What States Need to Know about PDMPs,