12:25pm

Tue August 9, 2011
Science/Health

Kentucky, Ohio Exchanging Drug Data

Kentucky and Ohio are automatically exchanging prescription medication data, following this week’s launch of the electronic Prescription Monitoring Information Exchange (PMIX). The announcement marks a highly anticipated milestone for prescription drug monitoring programs and ongoing work to fulfill a need to share data across state lines.

The PMIX program is a partnership between the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system and the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS).

“I have long advocated for multi-state cooperation in fighting this scourge of prescription drug abuse, because no state is an island,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release. “I have personally spoken with Ohio Gov. John Kasich about the importance of partnership on this issue, and I am very pleased to launch this shared program today. I have no doubt that improved monitoring across state lines will help to save lives.”

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services oversees KASPER, which is considered a national model for prescription drug monitoring.

“While KASPER provides an effective tool for health care providers and law enforcement officers in the fight against prescription drug abuse and diversion, interstate data sharing among prescription drug monitoring programs is needed to enhance the effectiveness of the programs as tools to improve public health and safety,” Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Janie Miller said. “Prescription drug abuse is a public health epidemic and it simply isn’t enough to monitor drugs dispensed only in our state. Having the ability to report data from other states will dramatically strengthen our ability to monitor and detect abuse.”

The goal of PMIX is to help states implement a cost effective technology solution to facilitate interstate prescription drug monitoring data sharing. The program utilizes a centralized PMIX Hub server to facilitate data sharing.

Under the pilot program, authorized users in Kentucky and Ohio can securely access live PDMP data from both states’ prescription monitoring systems utilizing the PMIX Hub server. For example, a physician in Kentucky will be able to request a KASPER patient report and stipulate that they need Ohio data included on the report. The resulting KASPER report will include any prescription records that the Ohio PDMP provides for the patient as well as the KASPER prescription records, and will identify in which state each prescription was dispensed.

“We are extremely pleased with the success of the PMIX pilot and hope to expand this program to other states,” said CHFS Inspector General Mary Begley. “Sadly, prescription drug abuse continues to increase and we’re now seeing more deaths from overdoses than fatal car accidents. The reality is people are not obtaining these drugs only in Kentucky and we need tools that provide broader understanding of where and when drugs are being obtained.”

Doctor shopping (also called provider shopping) is the term used to describe acquiring controlled pharmaceutical substances by deception. Doctor shoppers often seek controlled substances from multiple providers and cover increasingly large territories to obtain the drugs.

“The effectiveness of KASPER and other state PDMPs would increase significantly if the available data included all controlled substance prescriptions for a patient regardless of the state in which they were dispensed,” said Dave Hopkins, who coordinates the KASPER program. “In fact, our KASPER users overwhelmingly agree that the ability to access information from other states would dramatically increase the effectiveness of the system.”

Several states, including Kentucky, currently allow a prescriber, dispenser, or law enforcement officer from another state to register and obtain access to their PDMP. However, due to the effort required to establish and maintain separate accounts with each state and review multiple reports and formats, only a limited number of practitioners and law enforcement officers have done so.

“We think the PMIX pilot will facilitate efforts to share prescription drug monitoring program data among all states,” added Hopkins.