Electronic Health Records

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Nebraska HIE Implements Improved Prescription Monitoring

Nebraska’s health information exchange recently implemented a solution for improved prescription drug monitoring across the state.

Health Information Exchange

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recently implemented a solution to enhance its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

NeHII and the state agency will utilize electronic prescribing and medication management solutions from vendor DrFirst to capture state prescription information for the program in an effort to improve patient safety and optimize health outcomes.

Specifically, Nebraska residents such as Senator Sara Howard of Omaha are looking forward to the positive impact the enhanced PDMP could have on combating opioid abuse.

“By making narcotic prescription details available to every doctor and pharmacist, providers can identify patients who are potentially at risk of abuse or doctor shopping for medication,” said Howard in a public statement. “This program provides hope to any family who has ever been devastated by the loss of a loved one due to prescription drug abuse.”

Howard introduced a bill mandating a drug monitoring database through the state’s health information exchange. Including complete prescription data in the PDMP database will be a step toward deterring instances of prescription drug abuse by equipping providers and pharmacists with a more comprehensive view of a patient’s medication history.

Additionally, by electronically tracking the prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs, pharmacists will have the opportunity to access information relating to the patient’s prescription fill histories to more easily identify cases of potential misuse.

Beginning in 2018, Nebraska will be the first state to mandate that all prescriptions to be tracked.

 “NeHII is focused on sharing timely and accurate patient health information in a secure environment to improve patient care,” said CEO at NeHII Deb Bass. “DrFirst is working closely with us to deliver the functionality we need to further enhance our PDMP, provide a complete view of a patient’s prescription history and the ability to catch potential red flags, including adverse reactions and opioid abuse.”

Patients suffering from opioid abuse may benefit from early interventions, dosage tapering, and alternative therapies.

DrFirst’s functionality will also assist pharmacists and prescribers in identifying instances of adverse drug combinations and duplicate therapies.

Through the program, providers will receive an alert when patients access several dispensed opioid prescriptions and indicate instances in which overlapping prescriptions of opioid medication are being dispensed to the same patient.  

Upon implementation, DrFirst will aggregate and share prescription details for all NeHII prescribers and dispensers, including all 552 pharmacies and nearly 400 mail-order companies in the state.

Physicians and pharmacists will have the opportunity to access these patient medication histories at the point of care, allowing them to make informed clinical decisions for improved patient safety.

“Nebraska has taken a positive leap in becoming the first state to require information on all prescriptions as part of its PDMP and not solely controlled substances,” said President of DrFirst G. Cameron Deemer. “NeHII and DrFirst hold a shared commitment to technology innovation that improves medication reconciliation and enables care givers to make more informed decisions, which help save lives. We look forward to working with NeHII to ensure all prescription information is available state-wide with the analytics to make it actionable for all physicians and pharmacists.”

The state’s PDMP was initially launched on January 1 of this year.

Similarly, Surescripts recently expanded its Medication History for Panel Management data service with six more pharmacies including CVS Health in an effort to provide physicians with more complete prescription health data.

Like Nebraska’s PDMP, Surescripts’ software gives providers a way to monitor patient adherence to treatment plans and receive alerts signaling potential issues.

Improved patient monitoring improves population health management and patient health outcomes. 

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