- Michigan State Police are requesting that lawmakers grant them increased access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to leverage health data about controlled substance use to combat the opioid crisis, according to the Lansing State Journal.
However, mental health advocates are speaking out against the request as they believe increasing state trooper’s access to PDMP data may violate patient privacy.
“Our whole concern is that it’s going to open up new avenues for law enforcement to get the names of our constituents when our constituents haven’t necessarily done a thing wrong,” President of the Michigan Mental Health Association Mark Reinstein told the Journal.
Police issued their request in a package of bills. The bill would give state police real-time access to the Michigan Automated Prescription Drug system, which includes patient health information from pharmacists, veterinarians, and physicians across the state.
State troopers are pushing for the bill’s passage and view PDMP data access as a way to monitor prescribing patterns to identify potential dealers.
“This will allow us to be proactive about preventing large-scale diversion instead of merely reacting to overdose deaths and investigating those deaths after the fact,” said Michigan State Police Sergeant Matt Williams.
The state’s PDMP tracks information about opioids including fentanyl, suboxone, methadone, and others.
“It helps the prescriber see if that patient has been going to multiple pharmacies, or multiple prescribers, to obtain those prescriptions and those drugs,” Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Kim Gaedeke told the Journal. “By seeing that, the prescriber can make better-informed decisions on what to prescribe or the type of conversation they might need to have with their patient.”
Police currently have the authority to access the state PDMP with a warrant, a subpoena, or during instances when they need information during an active drug investigation. Police can receive patient medication histories that include information about doctors, patients, and pharmacies under these circumstances.
If the bill is passed, state troopers would respond to local law enforcement’s requests for patient medication histories. However, state troopers would not have the ability to view patient names and other personal information.
If the bill is passed, Williams said police will most likely use PDMP information to decide where to send troopers or to identify groups or individuals who may be the subject of drug investigations.
States across the country are working to increase their use of PDMPs by enabling EHR integration of PDMP data.
Earlier this month, Minnesota providers and prescribers gained the ability to leverage EHR-integrated PDMP data for safer prescribing decisions.
The state PDMP went live with Appriss Health’s NarxCare platform and PMP AWARxE solution to allow providers to aggregate and analyze controlled substance data. The health IT solutions will also allow providers to access visual, graphic, and advanced analytics insights, as well as patient risk scores generated through machine learning.
The tools will help healthcare providers make better-informed clinical decisions for improved patient health outcomes.
Minnesota has been steadily increasing its use of the state PMDP. In October 2018, clinicians across the state queried the PDMP 695,715 times, compared to 89,893 queries during the same time last year. This jump represents a 673 percent increase in PDMP queries year over year.
The state also shares PDMP information with 38 states across the country through the PMP InterConnect hub.
Enabling EHR-integration of PDMP data helps to reduce the administrative burden associated with EHR use and boost the efficiency and effectiveness of querying the databases to inform prescribing decisions.