Ohio Combats the Opioid Epidemic with a Control Application

The opioid epidemic is a nationwide crisis, and Ohio ranks among states with the highest opioid-related overdose deaths. The state government has worked to combat the issue by increasing controls around the prescription of opiates and controlled substances. The resulting database would ultimately inventory and track the use of controlled substances to identify:

  • Individuals who “doctor shop,” meaning they seek medical attention from several prescribers with the goal of obtaining multiple prescriptions of the same controlled substance.
  • Prescribers who write high-value prescriptions that may not be necessary.

The Problem

Because healthcare workers and pharmacists also must enter data into an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or fulfillment tool, The State of Ohio’s standalone database resulted in a data redundancy step. The system was not maintained or utilized on a consistent basis, resulting in a lack of oversight and inability to track the abuse or mismanagement of prescriptions.

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The Solution

A small pilot with a local grocery store chain offered proof of concept for the State of Ohio. The pilot integrated data from the chain’s pharmacy fulfillment system with the statewide system. Utilization of the statewide system had been around 16 percent; integrating the fulfillment system into the state-administered database brought utilization to 100 percent.

With the results of the initial pilot, Resultant brought together Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the State CIO to propose a statewide effort that would expand data integration and controlled substance monitoring. We proposed a statewide approach for implementing the contract and deploying the controlled prescription database.

The Outcome

Ohio achieved its largest utilization of the controlled prescription database, allowing the state to take a proactive approach against the controlled substance crisis. Ohio continues to carefully track progress with the OARRS 2018 Annual Report Executive Summary, which notes:

  • Decrease of 325 million opioid doses dispensed.
  • Decrease of 100 million doses of benzodiazepines dispensed.
  • 7,900% increase in OARRS queries.
  • 41,000 prescribers and pharmacists have integrated access to OARRS.
  • 89% decrease in doctor shoppers.

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