Pharmacy board, legislature work on PDMP upgrades


Kate Alfano, CMS contributing writer

The Colorado Board of Pharmacy and the Colorado General Assembly are working on two fronts to update the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in the continuing effort to reduce the incidence of prescription drug abuse and misuse in Colorado.

The pharmacy board administers the PDMP and they’re working with the PDMP software vendor on technical upgrades to the system with the support of $200,000 in grant funding from the United States Bureau of Justice. In collaboration with the Colorado Consortium on Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, the board held a stakeholder meeting with the vendor, Health Information Design (HID), on Feb. 19.

“The prescriber and pharmacist PDMP user stakeholders viewed the new interface as presented by the PDMP’s vendor on that date, and the group was very impressed with both the appearance, speed, and availability of data from the new interface,” said Cory Everett, senior advisor to the division director and director of strategic and external affairs for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Lynn Parry, MD, member of the CMS Committee on Prescription Drug Abuse, and Terry Boucher, CMS consultant who staffs the committee, attended the meeting. Boucher said the top criticisms he has heard from physicians about the system is that it’s hard to use, requires numerous check-ins and can only be accessed by physicians – making it time-consuming for the doctors to utilize effectively.

HID began the meeting with a presentation on upgrades they will implement this year. These include new screens that are easier to use that feature fewer “clicks” to access information and perform functions.

  • Query history – Everything will be visible on one screen, including method of payment.
  • Search history – All queries can be made from this single screen, including delegates and DEA number.
  • Prescriber DEA query – All patient recorders will be available in the system by prescriber, and users will be able to set a default time (using the options of one day, one month or one year).
  • Multi-state query – Will require only name and date of birth.
  • Report query – Will create a PDF file report of a patient record and be available in one click.
  • User management – Prescribers will be able to update their profiles and change their passwords on this screen.
  • Help query – This will contain a training guide, online help and frequently asked questions.
  • Log out – This can be performed with one click.

The stakeholders were then given a list of 15 additional cost modules available for the PDMP software to make the system more user-friendly. Stakeholders discussed the options and made recommendations on which ones would be useful in the new PDMP system, prioritizing them to make the most meaningful use of the grant funding.

These additional enhancements include various query options, pre-set date ranges for prescribers and pharmacists to speed up data query, peer-to-peer alert management, and providing prescribers with “morphine equivalent dosage excessive reports.”

While HID couldn’t commit to completing the additional enhancements before Aug. 31, 2014, when the federal grant expires, the board staff intends to apply for future grants and to continue to work with the vendor to complete all enhancements recommended by stakeholders, Everett said.

“We hope to achieve a higher utilization rate of the PDMP by prescribers and pharmacists so that these practitioners can make a more informed decision when considering prescribing and dispensing a controlled substance to patients in an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse in Colorado.”

In addition to the work at the Board of Pharmacy, the General Assembly is considering bills to make necessary legal changes to the PDMP. HB14-1283, Modify Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, was introduced in the House in mid-February by Rep. Beth McCann (D), Sen. Linda Newell (D) and Sen. John Kefalas (D).

The legislation would permit delegated access to the PDMP, allowing a physician or pharmacist to delegate query tasks to registered delegates. It also authorizes functionality to provide unsolicited reports to notify prescribers and pharmacists of potential problems. It requires physicians to register for the PDMP – but does not mandate usage. It allows use of PDMP data for public health reporting and health care coordination. And it requires daily uploading of data from pharmacies to the PDMP system, which represents an administrative change from the current two-week requirement.

The CMS Council on Legislation supports the bill. As of publication, it had passed the House and was under consideration in the Senate. The session is scheduled to adjourn sine die on May 7.

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, Initiatives, Prescription Drug Abuse, Patient Safety and Professional Accountability