The push for healthcare reform includes the integration of current and future technologies into the medical field. One area of focus is that of shared records, especially in terms of prescription drugs. By allowing the medical professional to be aware of all the medications the patient has been prescribed, they can help prevent overdoses or negative interactions, and identify suspected drug use issues. By sharing knowledge, patients can receive better care. A new pilot program in Indiana and Ohio is looking into this theory. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) in these two states have been put into place in order to share information between providers. The pilot testing will help pinpoint issues that may need to be resolved before the programs go national.
“The PDMP pilot projects being launched today will help hospital staff
identify a patient’s controlled substance history at the point of care
to enable better targeting appropriate treatments and reduce the
potential of an overdose or even death. We are not creating new
systems, we are adding value to those that exist.” ~ Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., National Coordinator (Health IT)
One finding that has already come out is the need for involvement. The shared information can only be beneficial if all information is available. It is up to healthcare professionals to make the programs successful. However, there may be time issues that prevent full and accurate reporting. Physicians are already hard-pressed for time, so adding another requirement to their day may be asking too much, but in the long-run the benefits will outweigh the short-term issues. So, the push now is to come up with ways to integrate these requirements into the physicians' day, standardizing the reporting that is done, and allowing access to communication outlets if any questions arise from the entered information. Through collective work, patients and physicians can have a positive outcome in medical treatment.