Data analytics and information sharing were a central focus of recommendations issued by President Donald Trump’s opioid commission.
The commission’s final report (PDF) outlined more than 50 recommendations including new federal prescribing guidelines, enforcement strategies to target drug trafficking and expanded recovery efforts.
A sizable portion of the 131-page report is devoted to improving data collection efforts, including a new federal database of existing prescribing and treatment information.
The commission also called for more widespread use of analytics to develop evidence-based addiction treatment and provide feedback to provide a closer look at prescribing practices. Some of the health IT highlights include:
Integrate siloed data: The report noted that data on prescribing practices, treatment availability and individuals at risk for addiction are siloed in various public and private databases. The commission recommended the federal government create an “integrated data environment” that pulls together publicly available information. The approach “would not require a new data warehouse or standardization initiative,” and instead immediately pull from existing data sources.
Pass PDMP legislation: The commission also recommended Congress pass the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act of 2017. The bill, which was introduced in March by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., requires any state that receives federal grant funding to establish a prescription drug monitoring program to share its data with other states. It would also fund the creation of a DOJ-led data-sharing hub.
Mandatory PDMP checks: The commission recommended mandating PDMP checks for physicians, but also called for PDMP data to be integrated with EHRs along with substance use disorder-related decision support tools. Furthermore, the commission said PDMPs could benefit from more overdose data that is currently captured by the Department of Transportation.
Better data from medical examiners: Similarly, the report called on the federal government to strengthen overdose data collection efforts through medical examiners “enabling real-time surveillance of the opioid crisis at the national, state, local and tribal levels.”
Increase e-prescribing: The commission wants the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to increase e-prescribing and revise regulations overseeing electronic prescribing for controlled substances.
Share analytics with licensing boards: One recommendation calls for federal agencies to collect data on medical education and prescribing patterns to analyze the effectiveness of physician training efforts. They want to share that data with clinicians and state licensing boards.
One issue that was notably absent from the recommendations: funding. For example, the president’s 2018 proposed budget includes $12 million in DOJ state grants to improve PDMP data collection. That’s $1 million less than annual funding in the previous two years.