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Assessment of Oregon's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Oregon’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) was set up to collect information from pharmacies about schedule II – IV controlled substances dispensed in Oregon. The system, housed in Oregon’s Injury Prevention Program, became operational in September 2011 when providers started using the system to assess controlled substance use by their patients.

Statewide Provider Survey

In 2012, PDES developed and implemented a statewide provider survey to assess early use of the system. We sent surveys to 1,100 providers and achieved a response rate of 62%.

Overall there was very positive feedback about the program. The large majority of respondents agreed that the program would likely improve management of patient prescriptions (92%), engender interest for most providers to use the system (92%), increase communication between providers (80%), and have an impact (86%). About three quarters of registered users (77%) reported that benefits exceed the drawbacks, and most found it “very useful” in monitoring prescriptions (65%) and controlling doctor shopping (64%).

Use of the system generated the following activities for the majority of providers in the past 30 days: spoken with a patient about controlled substance use (78%), confirmed patient not misusing prescriptions (68%), confirmed patient was doctor shopping (59%), and/or reduced or eliminated prescriptions for a patient (59%). There was also evidence that system use had led to more communication between providers and other clinicians and staff within their practice (64%), other providers who write prescriptions (67%), other pharmacists (63%), and patients (79%).

Continuing our Work

PDES and the state PDMP program recently received a Department of Justice grant that will help us continue our assessment of the program. Starting in 2014, PDES began to design and implement an evaluation project using medical record reviews to assess changes over time in a cohort of patients with the highest use of opioid prescription drugs. We hope to answer the following types of questions:

  • Do the total amount of drugs prescribed decrease over time?
  • Do providers who use the PDMP increase referrals for substance abuse treatment?
  • Do providers who use the PDMP increase communication with other providers?

We also plan to use grant funds for key informant interviews with Health System quality improvement managers to determine interest and processes for implementing PDMP use.

For questions regarding evaluation of the PDMP, please contact David Dowler, 971-673-0598 or