Study: Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Could Improve Quality of Care

A new study in Health Affairs found that state prescription drug monitoring programs designed to help law enforcement identify illegal activity could also improve patient safety and quality of care (Source: “Rx Drug Tracking Could Have QA Use, Review Finds,” MedPage Today, Feb. 15, 2013).

Monitoring programs, which are currently in place in some form in 44 states including Ohio, help authorities track potential prescription drug abuse by monitoring the use of controlled medications.

“Prescription monitoring programs primarily target drug abusers and prescriber ‘pill mills,’ ” the authors explained in the report. “At the same time, however, healthcare providers increasingly look to these programs as a tool for improving patient safety and the quality of care.”

Little is known about how information from monitoring programs helps influence provider practices, according to the authors. A 2008 University of Toledo study found that emergency department doctors in Ohio who accessed prescription drug data changed their prescribing practices in 41% of cases.

[Hopefully, such programs will include monitoring of prescriptions of those psychotropic drugs and their use that is common among those committing gun violence.]

Source: Ohio Health Policy Review, Feb. 15, 2013.

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