Connecticut Children's Medical Center was the first health care organization in the state to connect electronically to the state's prescription monitoring program, a key tool in attempts to curb the opioid crisis, officials announced Friday.
"Too often, health care topics we discuss are more related to adults. We forget that children can be impacted," James Shmerling, president and CEO of Connecticut Children's, said during an announcement Friday. "The misuse, abuse and overprescription of opioids is a very real problem for children. At Connecticut Children's, we have a commitment to patient safety."
The prescription monitoring program is a centralized database updated by practitioners and pharmacies. Recent legislation requires medical practitioners who prescribe greater than a 72-hour supply of a medication to consult the database, according to the Department of Consumer Protection.
Integrating the hospital's electronic records with the monitoring system will allow doctors to have access to prescription histories in real-time, officials said.
"This important integration makes it easier for our providers to do the right thing for our patients and prevent overprescribing," Shmerling said.
Legislation passed into law in recent years has expanded the scope and access of the prescription program as officials work to head off overprescribing of opioids, which is viewed as an increasingly common avenue to addiction.
But the prescription drug monitoring program also serves as a powerful tool to allow doctors to have the most accurate information, DCP Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said.
"Our goal is to continue to grow the [monitoring program] so that it can be the best possible tool to give health care providers the most and best information possible to do what they do best," Harris said.