Ohio streamlining pharmacist access to patient drug histories

October 30, 2015

Ohio is set to become the first state to link its prescription drug monitoring program with electronic medical records already in existence.

Ohio is set to become the first state to link its prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) with electronic medical records already in existence.

Gov. John Kasich recently announced that that the state will spend up to $1.5 million to link the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) with electronic medical records.

Linking the two will allow healthcare providers such as pharmacists and doctors to access relevant patient history in one location, making it easier to flag suspected drug abusers.

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OARRS vs. the tsunami

"The message to Ohioans, despite the fact that we still see a tsunami of drugs, is that we're not going to give up in this state until we win more and more battles, maybe ultimately the war," Kasich said during a news conference announcing the funding.

Ohio created its PDMP, OARRS, in 2006. As in many other states, the tracking program is credited with reducing both opioid prescriptions and cases of doctor shopping.

According to state officials, Ohio doctors prescribed 40 million fewer doses of opioids in 2014 than in 2013.

In addition, the number of documented doctor-shopping cases declined from 3,000 in 2009 to 960 in 2014, as more healthcare officials have begun using OARRS. 

 

More checks

State officials said the amount of OARRS checks increased from 778,000 in 2010 to 9.3 million in 2014.  

"OARRS provides a wealth of information to help pharmacists and prescribers make informed decisions about the health and safety of their patients, including identifying patients exhibiting high-risk behaviors," Steven Schierholt, the executive director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy toldCleveland.com.

This year, Kroger Co. linked its electronic health records with OARRS with the help of a state grant. Since the integration, OARRS usage by Kroger pharmacists increased to 100% from 10%.