Ochsner integrates opioid monitoring tool into its Epic EHR

New Orleans-based system becomes the latest to arm clinicians with tools for helping patients manage chronic pain while avoiding opioid addiction.
By Bernie Monegain
11:55 AM
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Ochsner opioid monitoring in Epic EHR

Clinicians at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans will now be able to access a patient’s prescription history directly within their Epic EHR system. Ochsner tapped Appriss Health for technology that enables integration of state prescription drug monitoring program information directly into the EHR.

A Prescription Drug Monitoring Program or PDMP monitors drug diversion and abuse. PDMPs also help identify clinicians with patterns of inappropriate prescribing and dispensing, and assists law enforcement in cases of controlled substance diversion. 

[Also: Michigan law requires providers check state's PDMP before prescribing opioids]

Hospitals and health systems are more commonly adding capabilities to address the opioid epidemic. Intermountain, for instance, said in August it is equipping its Cerner EHR with new default order sets and other prompts specifically designed to aid physicians treating patients with chronic pain. 

An estimated 2 million Americans are addicted to opioids, and approximately 25 million suffering daily chronic pain, according to the National Institutes of Health. Louisiana is the sixth-highest opioid prescribing state. 

“This is not a ‘do not prescribe project,’” said Richard Guthrie, MD, Chief Quality Officer at Ochsner. “This is about best managing our patients, their pain and mitigating their risk.”

[Also: Indiana will integrate PDMP into EHRs statewide to fight opioid crisis]

To that end, Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway provides access to prescription drug monitoring program data, analytics and other resources within care team workflows real time to provide informed clinical decisions at the point-of-care.

Prior to working with Appriss Health, physicians and pharmacists needed to log into a separate website to retrieve a patient’s controlled substance dispensations from the state database and then cross-reference the data with a patient’s health information – a time-consuming process.

“The purpose of this initiative is to provide near-instant and seamless access to critical prescription information to all prescribers and pharmacists across our health system,” said Debbie Simonson, Vice President of Pharmacy Services at Ochsner. “We are creating a more complete picture of our patients as we make better informed clinical decisions about appropriate medical treatment, while engaging in more ‘real’ conversations with our patients about their health and well-being.” 

Simonson also noted the PDMP has proven to be an effective tool in helping to stop addiction before it starts.

“As we strive to build a culture of patient safety and continued quality improvement at Ochsner, we believe that PMP Gateway will help to increase overall utilization of PDMP information,” Guthrie added.

PDMP data and analytics are integrated into physician and pharmacist workflow through EHRs and pharmacy management systems in 32 states via Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway solution.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com