PMPs Need to be More ‘User-Friendly’ for Physicians, Study Finds

There are barriers to prescribers’ use of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), according to researchers from the American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT). In a June 21 New England Journal of Medicine Perspective article, Jeanmarie Perrone, MD, and Lewis Nelson, MD, found that PMPs, with some simple improvements, could be much more useful to physicians.

The most frustrating aspect of PMPs is the time it takes to use these programs. “Even if it takes only three minutes per patient, in a busy emergency department or office practice, having to do this multiple times daily amounts to a substantial time investment,” said Dr. Lewis in a press release from the ACMT. Much of the time is spent navigating to the correct web portal, they found. The physicians need to recall the password—and reset it. And many physicians found that once they did gain access, up-to-date information was not available for each patient.

Because time is the major barrier to physician use of PMPs, it would be helpful to have programs be more user-friendly, the researchers found.

Despite the barriers, the potential benefits of PMPs are great, the researchers said, noting that with enhancements to systems, these programs may help reduce prescription drug abuse.

For the research, Drs. Perrone and Lewis looked at opioid prescribing practices of ACMT members, and presented their results at the March national meeting.

For the free full-text article, go to http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1204493

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