More than 40% of physicians not using Rx monitoring sites

March 20, 2015

Most primary care physicians are aware of prescription drug monitoring programs (PMPs) designed to prevent doctor shopping, but more than four out of 10 are not using them, according to a survey published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Most primary care physicians are aware of prescription drug monitoring programs (PMPs) designed to prevent doctor shopping, but more than four out of 10 are not using them, according to a survey published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Rx drug abuse: An overview

The survey is from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. More than 400 physicians (420) last year completed surveys that assessed their attitudes toward, awareness of, and use of PMPs. Slightly more than half of the physicians (53%) reported using one of the programs.

While most of the doctors surveyed (72%) were aware of the PMPs, authors of the article attributed the low usage rate to the time-consuming nature of retrieving information, and the lack of an intuitive format for data provided by the programs.

“These results suggest that the majority of US primary care physicians are aware of and use prescription drug monitoring programs at least on occasion, although many did not access these programs routinely,” the authors wrote. “To increase the use of the programs in clinical practice, states should consider implementing legal mandates, investing in prescriber education and outreach, and taking measures to enhance ease of access to and use of the programs.”

One addiction specialist endorsed the idea of states legally mandating that doctors use the PMPs prior to writing prescriptions for controlled substances.

 

“Rather than advertising or nicely asking docs to please use the PMP, I think states should make use mandatory. Prescribers should be required to consult the PMP before writing a controlled substance prescription,” Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer at Phoenix House, a drug treatment provider, toldForbes. “In states across the country where use is voluntary, utilization by prescribers is very low. Prescribers think they can tell who may or may not have a drug problem by looking at the patient. Truth is they can’t tell, and if they were to routinely check the PMP, many would be shocked by what they’d find.”

See also:

West Virginia panel targets doctors, pharmacies linked to overdoses