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Bringing better data to states' prescription drug monitoring

To help the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) improve the quality of the data coming out of prescription drug monitoring programs, Maryland works with Leap Orbit to monitor the quality and compliance of data coming from pharmacies and the state's PDMP vendor Appriss Health.

As the regional health information exchange serving Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. , CRISP receives raw PDMP files directly from pharmacies as well as collated data compiled from pharmacies by Appriss. CRISP turned to Leap Orbit in 2017 for a “quality reference check” to ensure the PDMP is getting all of the necessary information, said Lindsey Ferris, program director of HIE projects at CRISP.

CRISP now uses Leap Orbit’s compliance-monitoring tool daily -- and that embrace helped to generate interest from NIC, a provider of digital government services that also provides PDMP services in Wisconsin.

NIC purchased Leap Orbit's RxOrbit software assets, according to a Aug. 1 announcement, and  is launching RxGov, a comprehensive PDMP technology platform that will provide data transparency, patient matching  algorithms and integration of electronic health records.

“RxGov’s unique patient-matching algorithm uses machine learning to match a patient’s full name, nicknames, main name, etc. into a single patient record,” NIC CEO Harry Herington said during a second-quarter conference call on Aug. 1. “With this functionality, health care professionals can quickly detect inappropriate prescribing patterns.”

CRISP, for example, can tell if the PDMP is getting the data it expects and if there are discrepancies in the information, Ferris told GCN.  When discrepancies are found, CRISP notifies the Maryland Department of Health and works to resolve the problem.

“When you have hundreds of feeds coming in that you need to monitor, it makes it hard to figure out the signal to the noise,” Ferris said. “Without this monitoring tool, we wouldn’t have the insight to say that we have problems that we need remedied immediately because it impacts the user.”

RxGov combines Leap Orbit’s back-end functionality with NIC’s front-end functions. The integration of the EHR lets doctors and pharmacists get information with the click of a button rather than having to access a separate portal.

The platform-as-a-service solution is built in Microsoft’s Azure cloud environment. Agencies pay  for implementation and ongoing use of the system.

NIC’s PDMP solution will compete with Appriss Health, which runs PDMP programs for 42 states. Both companies are working to integrate EHRs into PDMPs with different levels of success, according to Anthony Schueth, CEO and managing partner of Point-of-Care Partners, a health IT strategy and management consulting firm.

“Leap Orbit’s open platform allows interoperability with different systems,” Schueth said. “Leap Orbit has built an open platform that integrates with a lot of different EHRs, which is a different concept that Appriss needs to compete against.”

Appriss PDMP Interconnect shares data among  44 states, but information also needs to be shared between physicians and pharmacists.

“PDMP programs were built so pharmacies could easily provide their information and the information could be aggregated on a website to be accessed by physicians or pharmacists,” Schueth said.  “The challenge with the model is 41 states are requiring prescribers to access the PDMP before prescribing a controlled substance, which is very time consuming.”

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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