Data Sharing

Bill Lockwood

Bill Lockwood, Chairman/PublisherHERE I AM ADDRESSING DATA SHARING among state prescription monitoring programs (PMPs). This is happening in a big way, thanks to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s PMP InterConnect program. Currently, 45 states have agreed to share data through InterConnect. And the service is being used, with close to 18 million requests a month from prescribers and pharmacists, and 39 million responses.

The point was driven home that InterConnect is the answer to the White House call for national interoperability of prescription monitoring programs back in March.

PMP InterConnect is a highly secure network. The American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP), the author of the standard every state requires for reporting controlled substances dispensed, has endorsed InterConnect, as has the American Medical Association.

The states have been hard at work in making access to their data easier and faster through redesigned websites and also through support of what is referred to as “one click” access through the workflow in a pharmacy or an EHR (electronic health record) system.

To date 380 facilities in 33 states have enabled point-of-care, one-click access. And several additional states have committed to providing one-click access. Here ASAP also plays a role with its Web Service standard, which has been incorporated into the pharmacy systems from several pharmacy system vendors. This standard allows the request of information on a person of interest from more than one state through InterConnect and can support what’s called a “pick list,” where states support this type of response. It can also handle a patient’s risk scores in a response.

Now Nebraska is using the ASAP standard for pharmacies to report all prescriptions dispensed, not just controlled substances, as a feed to its health information initiative. This expanded use of the ASAP standard demonstrates the important role it is playing not only in addressing the opioid crisis, but also in populating a health information exchange with prescription data for data sharing.

Bottom line: There is a solution to national interoperability that is in place now and is working well. With more and more states requiring registration of prescribers and dispensers with their PMP and with more and more states requiring the prescriber and dispenser to first check the PMP under certain conditions, this is going a long way in addressing the opioid crisis. Data sharing improves the process. CT