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President’s Opioid Commission Heeds HITN Recommendations in Interim Report

WASHINGTON, DC (August 1, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – responded today to a draft interim report released by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

The report echoes calls from Health IT Now for better interoperability among state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and improved utilization of PDMPs in the prescribing and dispensing workflow, so that pharmacists and doctors have an accurate picture of a patient’s opioid use patterns before medication is released to them. 

As page seven of the report notes: “Forty-nine states now have PDMPs but not nearly a majority of those are sharing their information. This is unacceptable. We urge you to direct the VA and HHS to lead an effort to have all state and federal PDMP systems to share information and to set a deadline of July 1, 2018 to achieve this data sharing . . .  In addition to sharing data between states and the federal government, the PDMP needs to be improved with regard to its ease of use, and inclusion of other data to assist prescribing doctors. Ideally, clinicians should check their state PDMP before making the decision to prescribe either an opioid or benzodiazepine . . . ” 

Health IT Now had previously urged implementation of these reforms in a July 10th comment letter to the Food & Drug Administration. 

HITN Executive Director Joel White released the following statement: 

“We are pleased the President’s Commission has adopted the Health IT Now recommendations and those of other stakeholders who call for harnessing the full potential of PDMPs to combat the opioid epidemic,” said HITN President Joel WhiteWe need tools that work across state lines, EHRs, and management systems to give real time data within a provider’s work flow so they have good information at the point of care before a prescription is dispensed. Until we achieve this, dangerous loopholes will continue to hinder the tools our doctors and pharmacists use to identify and stop opioid misuse. The policy solutions related to PDMPs contained in this report offer a smart step forward and, if fully implemented, will pay dividends in the lives saved and abuse prevented. Health IT Now applauds the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis for their thoughtful work on this interim report and looks forward to our continued collaboration.” 

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About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that supports incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.

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