Bill Lockwood, Chairman and Publisher
Bill Lockwood Chairman and Publisher

As more and more states require pharmacists to check their prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) before dispensing an opioid, the quality of the data reported to the PDMPs will have a bearing on getting a “match” on the person of interest. This is where it is important to recognize that what’s reported to a PDMP is going to determine to a large degree how often you are going to find the person you are looking for when checking the PDMP data. Data elements that are used to identify the individual are the patient’s full name, address (including ZIP code), date of birth, gender, and phone number. These are the data fields that must contain accurate and consistent information when reporting prescriptions dispensed to your state’s PDMP. Gender and phone number increase the probability of a match, but not all PDMPs require reporting these data elements.

The American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP) developed a standard designed to allow queries of PDMP data from within the workflow of your pharmacy system rather than through a web portal supported by the PDMP. It is called the ASAP Web Services standard to differentiate it from the ASAP standard used to report controlled substances dispensed. The standard allows selecting a date range and then multiple states in a single query. The standard also supports a “pick list.” This is where the state would send back a list of probable matches with a weighting indicating the confidence level that the person matches your criteria. A reference number is assigned to each person, and that number is used to access the prescription history on the person you select. Appriss Health, which provides the gateway to NABP’s (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) PMP InterConnect program, supports the ASAP standard. The standard can also display the risk scores that Appriss would send back on the person selected. Another feature of the standard is that it is designed to automatically check with the PDMP to see if anyone has reached the state’s threshold for sending out an alert to a prescriber and pharmacy. If you do not have the functionality in your pharmacy system to query PDMP data directly from your system, then I suggest you talk to your system vendor about incorporating the ASAP standard. Of course, it all depends on your state allowing access to its data directly from your pharmacy system. A starting point would be to check with your PDMP. The ASAP Web Services standard is available by going to and clicking on publications. CT

Bill Lockwood is chairman, publisher at ComputerTalk. You can reach him