The Complementarity of Health Information and Health IT for Reducing Opioid-Related Mortality and Morbidity
42 Pages Posted: 16 May 2018 Last revised: 23 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 21, 2020
In response to the opioid crisis, each U.S. state has implemented a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to collect data on controlled substances prescribed and dispensed in the state. I study whether health information technology (HIT) complements the availability of patient data in PDMPs to reduce opioid-related mortality and morbidity. I construct a novel dataset that records state policies that integrate PDMP with HIT and facilitate interstate data sharing. Using difference-in-differences models, I find that PDMP-HIT integration policies reduce opioid-related mortality and morbidity. The reductions in inpatient morbidity are substantial in states that established integration without ever mandating the use of a PDMP. The impacts are strongest for the most vulnerable groups – middle-age, low- to middle-income patients, and those with public insurance. I find suggestive evidence that interstate data sharing further complements integration despite not having a significant impact independently. The total benefits from integration far exceed the associated costs.
Keywords: opioid crisis; prescription drug monitoring; health IT; technology policy
JEL Classification: I1, K2, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation