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DHHS implements new Prescription Drug Monitoring Program enhancements

DHHS implements new Prescription Drug Monitoring Program enhancements (NTV News)

In the midst of a dangerous opioid epidemic, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services is looking to change the way prescription drugs are monitored.

Nebraska's DHHS recently launched additional enhancements to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

"All pharmacies have to submit to the state database any prescription that's filled by a patient in the pharmacy, so controlled substances and now non-controlled substances have to be submitted," said CHI Good Samaritan Director of Pharmacy Nicki Bohl.

As of Jan. 1, Nebraska is the first state to require the drug submissions.

The idea stems from the Nebraska Legislature.

"Back in 2016 decided it would be beneficial to take a broader public health approach to prescription drug monitoring and that's why the decision was made to require a reporting of dispensed prescription drugs," said Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services Injury Epidemiologist Ashley Newmyer.

PDMP is a tool used by health care professionals who prescribe and dispense medications.

"The benefit to us is huge. It means that we can login to the PDMP, quickly type in a patient's name, confirm it's truly that patient, and get a list of any prescription that the patient has had filled in the last three months, six months, a year once the data has been compiled for a year," said Bohl.

She says it's important for the patient's safety.

"It used to be that we may spend several hours trying to get a complete med list for patients who just weren't able to communicate, didn't have family members present. It was just really difficult to get a reliable list of medications they were on. Now we can get a list within 10 to 15 minutes," said Bohl.

Nebraska's DHHS says it can be hard for patients to know what is important to share with their physician so these enhancements will only help with communication.

"I really think that physicians and pharmacists having access to this information is really going to improve patient care and patient safety in our state," said Newmyer.

In July 2018, veterinary prescriptions for controlled substances will also be added to the PDMP.

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