For Immediate Release - December 22, 2015

State Hire Vendor to Revamp Prescription Monitoring Program

More Efficient System Will Track Powerful Medication Use Across State Lines

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced today that a new, Online Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) system will be developed and implemented by Appriss, Inc., following through on the administration’s commitment to improving the performance, access and usability of the critical system in the midst of the ongoing opioid crisis.

Appriss was selected as the partner vendor for the development and implementation of the new system following a procurement process. The need for a more efficient online PMP system, which lists every prescription written and filled for controlled substances in the state, was highlighted as one of Governor Baker’s Opioid Working Group’s recommendations earlier this year.

Founded in 1994, Kentucky-based Appriss maintains and facilitates PMP data-sharing with 22 other states including Connecticut and Rhode Island. Appriss was awarded a five-year, $6.2 million contract.

The new online PMP system will include:

  • An improved user-friendly interface and faster access to reports;
  • Interoperability with other states’ online PMP systems, preventing duplicate prescribing between states;
  • Integration to link with Commonwealth health providers’ electronic medical record systems to ensure safe prescribing;
  • Efficient onboarding for users including prescribers, delegates, residents and interns and pharmacies and dispensers.

“A new PMP has been a clear priority of this Administration.  The new PMP will provide practitioners with the tools to help prevent people from the misuse of opioids by doctor shopping to stock up on these powerful medications,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and chair of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group. “A well-designed PMP is a critical prevention tool that will help prescribers and pharmacists ensure the proper use of these drugs.” 

The new online PMP system is expected to go live in summer of 2016, following a thorough testing, training and transition plan from the existing system.

“The current PMP gives us valuable insight into the ongoing opioid epidemic, but is clunky and not very usable in the flow of a clinical practice,” said Dr. Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “This new system will make it easier for prescribers to access and submit information; and will allow for enhanced reporting for both physicians and DPH.”

In addition to the announcement of the new online PMP system, DPH announced last week that medical residents would be granted access to the PMP for the first time.

The contract with Appriss can be renewed for up to 10 years.  The cost in the first year, including implementation and transition from the existing system, will be $1,547,250. After year one, the cost of operating and maintaining the system will be $1,177,250.04 annualized. 

BACKGROUND:

The PMP provides, to authorized users, a patient's prescription history for Schedule II – V prescriptions for the prior 12 months as reported by all Massachusetts pharmacies and by out-of-state pharmacies delivering to people in Massachusetts. Additionally, the MA Online PMP prescription summary report informs clinical decision-making to help prevent, or stop, harm from duplicate drug therapy, prescription drug misuse or abuse and diversion.

Utilizing the MA Online PMP system, a licensed prescriber or pharmacist may obtain authorization, through completion and submission of an enrollment form, to view the prescription history of a patient for the past year. The MA Online PMP system also assists state and federal investigative agencies in addressing prescription drug diversion by supporting ongoing, specific controlled substances related investigations.

As of December 2014 there were 27,730 enrolled registered users: 22,440 practitioners; 2,036 mid-levels (Advance Practice Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants); and 3,254 pharmacists.  Additionally, there are approximately 200,000 prescriptions per week (13 million per year) received by the MA PMP program.

 

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