FAQ

Read the FAQs to learn more about Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), PMP InterConnect, PMP Gateway and how PDMPs are unleashing the power of data in their fight against opioid abuse.

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PDMP QUESTIONS

What is PDMP?

PDMP stands for Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. PDMPs are used in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Department of Defense to track controlled substances – drugs with a high potential for abuse – and other dispensations from pharmacies and, in some states, dispensing practitioners. The name Prescription Monitoring Program, or PMP, is also used.

How do PDMPs work?

In all states except Missouri, the PDMP maintains a database of all dispensations of monitored drugs in the state. Missouri utilizes localized PDMPs.

PDMPs are governed by an agency of the state, district, commonwealth, or territory of the United States. The governing agency maintains the PDMP and makes its data available to authorized prescribers and pharmacists, and other individuals as permitted by statute, for use in clinical decision making. Prescribers and pharmacists can access that data directly through the PDMP database or via PMP InterConnect and/or PMP Gateway.

What are dispensations?

Dispensations are medications which are ultimately provided to patients after consultation with a pharmacist or, in some states, a dispensing practitioner following the issuance of a prescription. PDMPs are comprised of dispensation data which reflects information about the patient, medication, prescriber, and pharmacy involved in the processing of the prescription.

What are monitored drugs?

Monitored drugs are medications which have been selected for inclusion in the PDMP database for each state/territory and vary across the nation depending on each PDMP’s statutes and regulations. These drugs are often controlled substances and/or other prescription drugs which may have a higher potential for abuse, misuse or diversion.

What states have PDMP

All states, except for Missouri, have a PDMP. Missouri has not yet adopted a statewide program but does have localized initiatives that cover most of the state and are therefore counted as a state PDMP in the metrics provided on this website. In addition, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Department of Defense all maintain a PDMP, for a total of 54 PDMPs.

PMP INTERCONNECT QUESTIONS

What is PMP IntterConnect?

PMP InterConnect, the only national network of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, is a secure data-sharing hub that breaks down siloes and enables the sharing of PDMP data across state lines, providing clinicians and pharmacists with a more complete patient history upon which to make decisions. This capability is critical for physicians and pharmacists to more easily identify patients who may be obtaining prescription medications for any purpose other than the treatment of an existing medical condition, including for purposes of abuse, misuse or diversion, especially if those patients are crossing state lines to obtain drugs.

When/why was PMP InterConnect developed?

An effort to create a prescription drug interstate data sharing infrastructure began in 2004. Due to the slow progress of that project and the urgent need for PDMPs to share data, in late 2010 an enterprising group of state PDMP administrators and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) took action to develop their own tool. They designed and developed the specifications and engaged Appriss Health to execute their vision, which would become PMP InterConnect, the only national network of PMPs.

The collaboration completed the initial phase of the project in nine months and launched the system in August 2011 with data exchanges between Indiana, Ohio and Virginia. Since that time, NABP, the PDMP administrators and Appriss Health have worked together to add and improve functionality, usage and adoption. Today more than 90% of the nation’s PDMPs use PMP InterConnect to exchange data for hundreds of millions of patient encounters each year.

What is a PDMP administrator

Most PDMPs have an administrator that is responsible for maintaining the PDMP program and the systems that support this to ensure that the prescribers and pharmacists have the clinical tools needed to prescribe controlled substances safely.

What is the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)?

NABP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that protects public health by assisting its member boards of pharmacy and offers programs that promote safe pharmacy practices for the benefit of consumers. Its members are from the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Bahamas, and all 10 Canadian provinces.

How much does it cost for the states and other PDMPs to use PMP InterConnect?

It costs nothing for PDMPs to use PMP InterConnect. It is funded by the National Association of the Boards of Pharmacy.

How many states use PMP InterConnect to share data across state lines?

51 PDMPs (48 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense) share data via PMP InterConnect.

Who has access to PDMP data?

PDMPs are governed by an agency of the state, district, commonwealth, or territory of the United States. The governing agency maintains the PDMP and makes its data available to authorized prescribers and pharmacists, and other individuals as permitted by statute, for use in clinical decision making. Authorized users can access that data directly through the PDMP database or via PMP InterConnect and/or PMP Gateway.

Is PMP InterConnect actively being used?

Yes! PMP InterConnect has processed over 1.1 billion transactions sharing data across 51 PDMPs in the last 12 months alone, as of March 2020, and is now delivering over 279 million interstate responses per month.

Is PMP InterConnect secure?

Yes. PMP InterConnect is secure. Below is a summary of the security implemented by PMP InterConnect:

  • All state PDMPs communicating with PMP InterConnect are authenticated with their assigned system level credentials.
  • All communications to and from PMP InterConnect are conducted using TLS 1.2
  • PMP InterConnect encrypts all Private Health Information that traverses the system and uses the technique of key encapsulation.
    • Utilizes AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256 bit and RSA (Rivest, Shamir and Adleman)
    • Message confidentiality is guaranteed from end-to-end.
  • PMP InterConnect can never decrypt the private health information that is passing through it and therefore it is not possible for PMP InterConnect to store private health information.
  • Activity logging is captured to monitor authentication attempts and all meta data about successful and unsuccessful transactions.
  • Annual vulnerability and penetration security audits are performed by an external vendor. All vulnerabilities rated high and medium risk are remediated and retested by a third party to verify issues are resolved. All vulnerabilities rated small in risk are evaluated on a case by case basis by the Appriss security team to determine if they need to be remediated.
  • Quarterly vulnerability and penetration and security audits are performed by the Appriss security team.
  • Annual HIPAA security assessments are performed by an external vendor.
Is PMP InterConnect compliant with the Prescription Monitoring Information Exchange (PMIX) National Architecture?

PMP InterConnect was developed in 2011 with all the standards utilized by the PMIX Working Group at the time. PMP InterConnect data payloads use the exact same National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) data standard as defined in PMIX to facilitate the information exchange of patient prescription drug history information. All PMP InterConnect data payloads validate against the XML schema as defined by the IJIS Institute in the ijis_pmix_III_ niem_2_0_iepd_v0_20_20101108 version of the PMIX standard.

To secure the data, PMP InterConnect utilizes REST as the transport protocol for connecting the state web services, and key encapsulation for encryption of data, both of which are industry standards.

Are there any other tools like PMP InterConnect?

There are no other tools that provide the customization, comprehensive capabilities, service and ease of use offered by PMP InterConnect, the only national network of PDMPs.

What about RxCheck?

RxCheck is a tool funded by the federal government that provides basic PDMP data sharing. It is owned and operated by the Bureau of Justice Assistance with oversight from IJIS Institute, which is managed by the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR). RxCheck was developed and is maintained by a small business called Tetrus (www.tetruscorp.com). While RxCheck is governed by an RxCheck steering committee consisting of PDMP representatives from participating states, the Federal government has full control over RxCheck.

PMP GATEWAY QUESTIONS

What is PMP Gateway?

PMP Gateway is a platform that integrates PDMP data, analytics, insights, and resources into electronic health records and pharmacy management system workflows, making it easier for healthcare providers and pharmacists to quickly and easily retrieve a patient’s controlled substance history at the point of care and in accordance with the laws of each state.

What are the benefits of PMP Gateway?

By integrating PDMP data, analytics, insights, and resources into electronic health records and pharmacy management system workflows, PMP Gateway reduces costs, increases efficiency and improves patient care and safety. Prior to the introduction of PMP Gateway in 2014, prescribers and pharmacists had to log into separate systems to query patient information which took important time away from patient care. PMP Gateway provides a comprehensive view of patient data within the clinician/pharmacist’s own workflow, which enhances decision making and care while saving them, on average, two to five minutes per patient.

Who owns PMP Gateway?

NABP and PDMP administrators in 2014 initiated the development of a tool that would make it easier for healthcare providers and pharmacists to access patient data in an easier, more efficient way vs. having to log into a separate system. They engaged Appriss Health and PMP Gateway was born.

PMP Gateway is a managed service that integrates PDMP data, analytics, insights and resources with electronic health records, hospital systems, pharmacy management systems, and health information exchanges. Since 2014, Appriss Health has owned, maintained and reinvented PMP Gateway, partnering with more than 130 electronic health record systems and every major pharmacy chain and pharmacy management system to provide PMP Gateway to over 743,000 prescribers and pharmacists at over 98,000 facilities nationwide.

How much does PMP Gateway cost its users?

The individual pharmacies and healthcare entities that use PMP Gateway pay a nominal annual license fee on a per provider or per pharmacy basis. This license fee provides the licensee access to integration support, 24×7 call center support, project management resources and more. In some cases, states have chosen to accelerate adoption by funding integrations for the entire state.

Why do they have to pay a fee for the service?

PMP Gateway offers a cost effective PDMP integration option to states and healthcare facilities providing access to multi-state PDMP data and advanced substance use disorder platforms directly within workflow for authorized prescribers and pharmacists nationwide. To meet the needs of the State PDMPs, EHR and Pharmacy Management System vendors, pharmacies, hospitals and other approved healthcare entities, PMP Gateway requires extensive support to ensure robust scalability, security, performance, end user support and more.

The annual license fee covers the cost of extensive services that ensure the optimal performance of the platform, allowing the clinician/pharmacist to reap the patient care and economic benefits of PMP Gateway. Each licensee has dedicated support personnel to ensure that data from PMP InterConnect integrates with their workflow systems in a way that quickly and efficiently provides them with the data they want in the format they want it, within the law of their state/territory The license fee also covers customization of state and local laws and extensive security features and audits and many other services.

Are there other platforms like PMP Gateway available to the states?

There are no other tools that provide the comprehensive clinical capabilities, analytics, and support as PMP Gateway.

COMPLIANCE QUESTIONS

Do PMP InterConnect and PMP Gateway comply with all state data sharing rules when allowing for data access across state lines?

Yes. Each state has unique statutes and regulations on how the dispensation data is treated, who can view it and the format by which it can be shared within the state and across states. Both PMP InterConnect and PMP Gateway enforce those rules, many of which are administered by PDMP administrators.

How does PMP Gateway enforce the state laws and policies for the integrated users?

The specifications for PMP Gateway were created based on each unique state law and have evolved as the laws have evolved. PMP InterConnect and PMP Gateway work together to ensure that those users that access the data through their electronic health records, hospital systems, pharmacy management systems, and health information exchanges do so in a secure and compliant manner.

What’s an integrated user?

Integrations (or integrated users) refer to the ability to simplify the access to PDMP data for prescribers and pharmacists by allowing secure access to the PDMP data within the electronic health record or pharmacy management system.

Who owns the dispensation data in the network?

The dispensation data that is sent into the PDMP is property of the state (district, commonwealth, or territory of the United States) and subject to its laws regarding PDMPs. All dispensation data originates from dispensers (i.e., pharmacies) within the state’s (district’s commonwealth’s or territories’) borders. Many PDMPs use a software vendor for collecting, storing and displaying their dispensation data, as well as making it available for interstate data sharing in the network.

How is strong access control and privacy ensured for the information that is shared across state lines?

Data is encrypted as it passes through PMP InterConnect and can only be decrypted by a PDMP. PMP InterConnect limits transmissions according to the role of a requester as defined in state law.

Why have some PDMPs chosen not to share data with other PDMPs?

Each PDMP is free to determine the PDMPs with which they choose to share data, based on the requirements in their laws and/or policies. There are many factors that can contribute to that decision making so you should contact the appropriate PDMP administrator for more details.

What is the process if a state wants to connect to PMP InterConnect?

1. Execute a single memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NABP, and
2. Build an interface to connect to PMP InterConnect.

NABP staff is available to assist PMP directors in these two steps:

  • Connecting state PDMPs to the NABP legal team to build necessary state-specific language into the MOU, and
  • Facilitating initial connections between NABP’s technology solution provider Appriss Health and the states’ vendors.

States may obtain the MOU by emailing GovernmentAffairs@nabp.pharmacy.