In an effort to end the opioid epidemic, some medical providers are using a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
The electronic database tracks controlled substance prescriptions in the state.
Sanford Health’s walk-in clinic is one institution where providers use the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
“The goal is to cut down on patients that are potentially addicted to opioids, also to prevent overdose in opioids for patients that are being prescribed controlled substances,” physician assistant, Rebekah Zechman, said.
She said many patients visit the walk-in clinic with pain complaints, so the PDMP allows providers to see what controlled substances have been prescribed, when they were prescribed, who prescribed them, and what pharmacy they came from.
Some states have mandated the use of PDMPs by prescribers and pharmacies – North Dakota is not one of them – but Zechman said just having the ability to use it makes a big difference.
“It’s really been beneficial,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of patients that I’ve been able to show them their paperwork and explain to them the reason that they wouldn’t be getting any controlled substances from me. A lot of my colleagues do the same.”
The PDMP will also notify the provider if there are any patients with ‘polypharmacy’ on their record.
A patient with polypharmacy would have multiple prescriptions, from multiple providers, from multiple pharmacies.
Zechman said there is currently no reprimand for providers who prescribe to patients with polypharmacy, but that she feels a mandate to use the PDMP would lead to that, making it all even more effective.
Providers at Sanford Health, CHI St Alexius and Trinity Health use the PDMP.