Opioid prescriptions decline in Mass. as database is widely used

Since the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT) was fully launched a year ago, 97% of health care providers that prescribe narcotics have registered with the database, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Since the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT) was fully launched a year ago, 97% of health care providers that prescribe narcotics have registered with the database, according to the state Department of Public Health. State officials say the tool has helped contribute to a decline in opioid prescriptions over the last several years. There have been more than 6.5 million searches on MassPAT, with a weekly average of about 125,000 searches. Providers are required to check a patient's prescription history in MassPAT every time they write a prescription for DEA Schedule II or III narcotic drugs and the first time they prescribe a benzodiazepine. About 638,000 Schedule II opioid prescriptions were reported statewide in the second quarter of 2017, a nearly 28% decline from the first quarter of 2015. Massachusetts Medical Society President Henry L. Dorkin, MD, said the new MassPAT software is easier to use than the previous prescription monitoring program package, though physicians would still like to see the MassPAT software link smoothly with electronic medical records. MassPAT connects patient prescription data with 31 other states, including all of New England, New York, and the District of Columbia.

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