Indiana’s Drug Monitoring Program Results in Fewer Prescriptions for Scheduled Meds
In the face of a national epidemic of prescription drug abuse, many states are rolling out prescription drug monitoring programs, or PDMPs. The systems are essentially online databases of patient information that track use of scheduled medications.
Indiana has gone a step further and is evaluating its current program, known as INSPECT, which stands for Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking Program. INSPECT tracks what scheduled drugs a patient has been prescribed in the past, who wrote the prescription and where the prescription was filled. Indiana health officials wanted to find out how effective the program is in lowering the risk of prescription drug misuse in the state.
As part of the survey, the state’s 6,000 qualified prescribers or dispensers of scheduled drugs where asked if they used the program, how they liked the program and how much difference using INSPECT made in how drugs were prescribed. Some of the survey findings were:
- 37.4 percent of respondents were physicians with an average of 18.9 years of practice experience
- 26.9 percent of respondents were pharmacists
- 85 percent of those surveyed were familiar with INSPECT
- 70.7 percent used INSPECT
- The number one reason cited for not using INSPECT was time constraints
- 40 percent reported no barriers to program use
- 35.7 percent reported that using INSPECT resulted in changed prescribing practices
- Over 90 percent of those who reported changes said that they wrote fewer/far fewer prescriptions for scheduled drugs as a result of using INSPECT
INSPECT and other programs like it are designed to help those who write and fill prescriptions to do so with greater insight into patient history and behavior. For example, patients may receive legitimate prescriptions, but if they are getting them from several doctors in a short amount of time they may be either abusing the drugs themselves or diverting them for sale to others. Sharing information online in Indiana is leading to fewer prescriptions of scheduled medications.
A majority of the survey participants were opposed to making INSPECT a legal requirement before writing prescriptions but were in favor of strong encouragement to use the program. Respondents also voiced a desire for real-time reporting within the system. Some states are moving forward with PDMP programs. Others are lagging behind. The Indiana survey report suggests that making the tool available might lower abuse and help curb drug diversion by impacting prescribing practices.