A story on NPR’s Morning Edition newscast earlier this week details a new challenge confronting emergency room physicians and care providers: the upswing in drug-seeking behavior by patients who are abusing opioid medications. In response, hospitals in some states, including New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming, have developed modifications to their prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) that are specifically tailored to the special conditions of the emergency room. As existing PDMPs have sought to curb misuse, abuse, and diversion through “doctor shopping,” the emergency room has become a top destination for continued illicit access to prescription pain medications.
Read more here…
One reason for the migration has been that conventional PDMPs are not well suited to the emergency room environment, where doctors work 12 hour shifts with little time to investigate a patient’s prescription history. The new system absolves the attending clinician of the difficult decision of whether or not to prescribe. Instead, a panel of physicians and administrators conducts regular reviews of ER patients to flag unhealthy behavior, and notifies affected patients via certified letter that future access to prescription medications will be curtailed. At one New Mexico hospital, the program is credited with a 5% reduction in ER visits, and operating cost savings of $500,000.
Are drug monitoring programs working? Click here to read one opinion.
To read more about PDMPs and a survey about awareness, click here.
How do practitioners use PDMPs? Click here to find out.
Don’t miss the Special Interest Session “PDMPs: A Nail in Search of a Hammer” at PAINWeek 2015, September 8-12. Click here for the Schedule at a Glance.
Even better, click here to register!
Read a transcript or listen to the NPR broadcast mentioned above, here.