This year, we celebrate 10 years of NABP PMP InterConnect and are proud that the system now hosts 1 million users across 52 states and jurisdictions. It processes more than 1 billion patient encounters annually, saving providers 2 to 5 minutes per patient encounter. 

The service links state prescription monitoring programs (PMPs), allowing physicians, pharmacists, and other authorized users to check patients prescription drug histories for signs of misuse or diversion. Upgrades since its launch integrate PMP InterConnect into electronic health records, flowing seamlessly into clinical workflows.

PMP InterConnect is now stepping into its second decade of serving the states (at no cost to them) in a position of strength.  

Combating a Historic Epidemic

At the height of the prescription drug abuse epidemic in 2011, we were approached by several states to develop a solution that would make it possible to share vital information from PMPs across state lines.  

In the decade since, PMP InterConnect has become a vital tool in helping to reduce prescription drug misuse and overdoses related to prescription opioids. Also, pain clinics run by unscrupulous prescribers and problematic patient behaviors such as visiting multiple prescribers to seek controlled substances have declined.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a decrease in these metrics [in North Dakota] occurred after PMP InterConnect started to see widespread use,” said Mark J. Hardy, PharmD, RPh, executive director of the North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy. “It fostered sharing between jurisdictions, addressed major problems we had 10 years ago, and made PMPs into a high-level tool. It’s been built on a lot of successes.”

“PMP is an indispensable health care tool here in Ohio.”

– Steven W. Schierholt, Esq, executive director of the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy

For Ohio, being able to integrate the data into health records has made a huge difference, says Steven W. Schierholt, Esq, executive director of the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy.  

“That has been huge – honestly, a game changer. Ohio was the first state in the country to provide that feature to its hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies free of charge,” he says. “It has driven our use exponentially, and it was probably the biggest step in turning our PMP into an indispensable health care tool here in Ohio.” 

Pandemic Surge Shows Vigilance Is Still Needed 

Although efforts to combat the opioid crisis have seen great strides since 2011, the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency measures taken to slow its spread may have complicated the situation. CDC and other authorities report that the opioid crisis in recent years has been driven by the proliferation of illegally manufactured fentanyl being sold through various methods. In addition, CDC has reported significant increases in overdose deaths over the last two years, and evidence suggests that this resurgence can be attributed, at least in part, to the pandemic.  

Enhancements to PMP InterConnect continue to be developed and implemented, with several new technical improvements underway. Visit our website to learn more about PMP InterConnect and to see which states participate. 

A full version of this article can be found in the September 2021 edition of Innovations.