Alert

UNC Health Care First in NC to integrate EHR with NC Controlled Substance Reporting System

Giant step forward in empowering physicians to address the opioid epidemic

Chapel Hill, N.C. – In late June, UNC Health Care became the first organization in North Carolina to integrate its Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) system with the NC Controlled Substance Reporting System, a giant step forward in empowering the system’s physicians to address the opioid epidemic. 

Activation of this capability provides physicians with a one-click integration between Epic and the NC Controlled Substances Reporting System and reduces a 13-step process to three steps for providers to confirm prior controlled substance prescriptions.

“One-click access is a huge win for our providers,” said Tracy Parham, RN, UNC Health Care’s Chief Information Officer. “Before, they had to jump between two systems - taking three minutes per patient report. Now, the process takes seconds to retrieve the patient-specific report directly within Epic.”

In the first two weeks of use, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) integration was used by more than 540 physicians across UNC Health Care to access more than 2,950 patient reports. When compared to the prior workflow, UNC Health Care estimates that the change has already saved its physicians approximately 119 hours in the two weeks of use.

More importantly, the functionality provides clinical information necessary to ensure that opioids and other controlled substances aren’t prescribed inappropriately.

“No physician wants to inadvertently prescribe excess narcotics for a patient, and a vast majority of patients don’t want to be prescribed opioids unnecessarily,” said Dr. Matthew G. Ewend, President of UNC Physicians and Chief Quality and Value Officer for the UNC Health Care System.

“Our IT team has sliced through the technical ‘red tape’ to bring our physicians accurate, real-time information about each patient’s narcotic prescription history,” Dr. Ewend explained. “Our patients and our physicians both benefit from this terrific work – we are proud to be leading the response to the opioid crisis in North Carolina.”

This functionality is possible thanks to a partnership between UNC Health Care’s Information Services Division team and Appriss Health, provider of the nation’s most comprehensive platform for substance use disorder. With Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway platform, the integration of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Reporting System into the EHR increases the ease of access and use of PDMP information when making critical clinical decisions.

For providers like Dr. Vinay Reddy, a UNC Health Care family medicine physician who prescribes controlled medications for patients with chronic pain and for patients on medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence, having quick and easy access to the information in the Controlled Substances Reporting System database (including the drugs prescribed, the number of prescribers, and the different pharmacies used) streamlines the process dramatically.

"One of the contributing factors to the opioid crisis is a lack of quick and easily accessible information regarding the controlled substances patients have filled in our state as well as surrounding states," said Dr. Reddy. “One click access on the same screen where we order medications removes the previous barriers to accessing the controlled substance database at the point of care.”

“Now, I can quickly review the database while the patient is in front of me and make informed decisions about the controlled substances I am considering prescribing for the patient, preventing unsafe and unnecessary prescribing of controlled substances for our patients."

Health Care IT Leadership

UNC Health Care is a national leader in information technology and is the only health system in the United States to achieve both Stage 7 status on all three HIMSS Analytics domains (inpatient, outpatient, analytics) and also to be honored as ‘Most Wired Advanced’ by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Earlier in 2018, UNC Health Care collaborated with Apple on an early release of a new health records feature in the iPhone Health app, which makes patients’ clinical health records accessible on their iPhones. UNC Health Care was one of only 12 institutions nationwide in the iOS 11.3 beta.

About UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system composed of UNC Hospitals and its provider network, UNC Faculty Physicians, UNC Physicians Network, the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine, and ten other hospitals and hospital systems across the state: UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, Pardee Hospital, High Point Regional Health, Caldwell Memorial, Nash Health Care, Wayne Memorial, UNC Lenoir Health Care, and UNC Rockingham Health Care.

About Appriss Health

Appriss Health provides the nation's most comprehensive platform for early identification, prevention and management of substance use disorder (SUD). Appriss Health provides state government agencies with the most advanced repository of controlled substance dispensing data, and deliver real-time clinical decision support, critical insights and interventions to physicians, pharmacists, and care team members through millions of patient encounters each year.

Appriss Health’s solutions enable healthcare providers, pharmacists, and care team members to assess and manage clinical risk in order to positively impact patient safety and population health outcomes. For more information, please visit www.apprisshealth.com.

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