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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Optimal Implementation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in the Emergency Department


The opioid epidemic is the most significant modern-day, public health crisis. Physicians and lawmakers have developed methods and practices to curb opioid use. This article describes one method, prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP), through the lens of how to optimize use for emergency departments (ED). EDs have rapidly become a central location to combat opioid abuse and drug diversion. PDMPs can provide emergency physicians with comprehensive prescribing information to improve clinical decisions around opioids. However, PDMPs vary tremendously in their accessibility and usability in the ED, which limits their effectiveness at the point of care. Problems are complicated by varying state-to-state requirements for data availability and accessibility. Several potential solutions to improving the utility of PDMPs in EDs include integrating PDMPs with electronic health records, implementing unsolicited reporting and prescription context, improving PDMP accessibility, data analytics, and expanding the scope of PDMPs. These improvements may help improve clinical decision-making for emergency physicians through better data, data presentation, and accessibility.

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