Evaluating Emergency Department Opioid Prescribing Behaviors After Education About Mandated Use of the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

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Abstract

Introduction:

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are among the most promising state-level interventions to improve opioid prescribing, inform clinical practice, and protect patients at risk for prescription drug misuse, overdose, and death. In 2016, Pennsylvania launched an initiative mandating all prescribers to search the PDMP for each patient when the patient is prescribed controlled substances.

Objectives:

The primary aim of this project was to support the Pennsylvania PDMP mandate by educating emergency department (ED) providers regarding the opioid epidemic and use of the PDMP and measure opioid prescriptions posteducation. Secondary aims were to evaluate provider knowledge and identify barriers to PDMP use.

Methods:

This quality improvement project was conducted through a retrospective chart review of patients 18–85 years old discharged from the ED with a chief complaint of pain. A pretest and a posttest measured provider knowledge change after an education program and assessed barriers to PDMP use. Numbers of opioid prescriptions written at discharge were examined.

Results:

Provider knowledge scores increased significantly (p = .000). Barriers to PDMP use focused on access and process issues. A statistically significant decrease was observed in opioid prescriptions written (p = .002) during the project.

Conclusion:

An education program increased ED providers’ knowledge of the opioid epidemic and the Pennsylvania PDMP mandate and identified barriers to use. A decrease in opioid prescriptions written may have been associated with improved knowledge and suggests that providers can change prescribing behaviors. More research is needed in this area, and future projects may want to focus on prescriber attitudes toward PDMP usefulness.

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