Ohio is rolling out the next generation of a powerful prescription drug monitoring system to help fight the opiate addiction crisis, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced.
Started in 2006, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System tracks controlled substances prescribed by doctors, provided by pharmacies and taken by patients. The upgraded version will calculate a patient’s risk for addiction or overdose, provide red flag alerts on potential safety issues, offer real time messaging between health care providers, and include a search tool for drug treatment programs.
Health care providers will be able to access the new, upgraded OARRS system via electronic medical records and the OARRS website starting Nov. 20.
The system is designed to track prescriptions of controlled substances, such as painkillers, and prevent the practices of over-prescribing and “doctor shopping” — where addicts fill opioid prescriptions from several doctors at multiple pharmacies.
In 2006, the top doctor shopper in Ohio received prescriptions from 105 different doctors and filled those at 50 different pharmacies. In 2016, the top doctor shopper received prescriptions from 45 different doctors and filled those at 19 different pharmacies. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy agents investigate such patterns.
Likewise, doctors and pharmacies are required to check OARRS before writing or filling certain prescriptions. Physicians and dentists who write controlled substance prescriptions without checking the system are contacted by the Board of Pharmacy.
Beginning at the end of December, doctors will be required to add diagnosis information to OARRS so regulators have a better idea about why patients are being prescribed powerful pain killers.