Hospitals, Health IT

Ochsner taps Appriss Health to help integrate PDMP data into its Epic EHR

New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System chose Appriss Health to enable integration of Louisiana’s prescription drug monitoring program information into its Epic EHR system. Ochsner CMIO Todd Burstain said the service went live in October of 2017.

Opioid pills

New Orleans-based Ochsner Health System selected Appriss Health to enable integration of Louisiana’s prescription drug monitoring program information into its Epic EHR. It’s made possible through Appriss’ PMP Gateway solution.

In a phone interview, Ochsner CMIO Todd Burstain said the service went live in October of 2017. At the end of January, the health system added Mississippi to its services as it is expanding its presence into the state, he added.

Before using the solution, Ochsner clinicians had to go to a separate website to gather a patient’s prescription data from the state database. They then had to cross-reference the information with the patient’s health information. Now, clinicians can access a patient’s prescription history directly through the EHR.

“Without access to the PDMP site, all the health records don’t really integrate that well,” Burstain said. “Our ability to kind of stem some of that pipeline is beneficial to the community in general.”

About two years ago, Ochsner wanted to make an impact after it recognized opioid issues were moving to the forefront of the healthcare discussion. As time went by, the system made numerous advances, including creating an opioid stewardship committee.

Eventually, it got in touch with Appriss Health, which works with many states in the Gulf South, Burstain said, adding that the Louisville, Kentucky company was a “natural” organization to contact.

In a phone interview, Appriss Health president Rob Cohen commented on what PMP Gateway brings to the table.

“Certainly from a prescriber perspective, they have always wanted this kind of data. Traditionally, the data was difficult to get to,” he said. “At times, they’d check the PDMP if their instincts told them they should. Our solution allows them to check the PDMP for every patient.”

He compared it to going to the doctor for a checkup. Physicians don’t only check a patient’s blood pressure if they’re complaining of dizziness — they check it every time. In the same way, Appriss believes clinicians should be checking a patient’s PDMP data every time, not just when they feel like it.

While Ochsner utilizes Epic, Cohen said Appriss can integrate with various other vendors as well, including Cerner, athenahealth, Allscripts, Meditech and eClinicalWorks.

As Ochsner moves into Texas and Arkansas, Burstain said Ochsner plans to work with the PDMP programs from those states.

The New Orleans health system is also making other efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, such as helping patients get referrals to pain management programs.

“We take very seriously our ability to help with this crisis,” Burstain said.

Photo: VladimirSorokin, Getty Images