Today the Department of Public Health (DPH) launched its updated prescription monitoring program (PMP) called “MassPAT” after a complete and long overhaul of the old system. DPH chose Appriss, a software vendor that currently runs PMPs in more than 25 states, to manage the new system.
There is little doubt that the previous prescription monitoring program in Massachusetts was underutilized by prescribers due in large part to the difficulty in registering for the system and the overall lack of functionality that often required multiple “clicks” to access data.
The new MassPAT program has proven itself a success even prior to today’s launch with well over 25,000 prescribers already pre-registered and reports of significant improvements in registering for the program as well as the availability of a 24/7 help desk. Demos of the new MassPAT show there is much to be excited about including ease of functionality, the ability to look at data from selected other states, and vast improvements in the ability to approve delegates to search MassPAT on behalf of a clinician. Clinicians may be skeptical, but we are confident they will be pleasantly surprised.
Over the past year, DPH engaged the services of a consulting group, the Ripples Group, who has played a pivotal role in creating a collaborative atmosphere among stakeholders such as Atrius Health, the Massachusetts Medical Society and others. Efforts will continue for a communication strategy for all prescribers and pharmacists, educational efforts and future enhancements to MassPAT.
We congratulate the Department of Public Health and its staff for its work thus far in making the sorely needed improvements to the prescription monitoring program. We feel these changes will strike the right balance of addressing the state’s ongoing prescription drug abuse problem with a system that is easy for clinicians to use.
We are confident that what was once viewed as an antiquated system will now be a shining example of innovation among state prescription monitoring programs. We strongly encourage DPH to continue to actively work with stakeholders who are able to provide valuable insights and suggestions to make future improvements to the program, such as electronic health record (EHR) integration, which is next on the DPH’s agenda.