The Complementarity of Drug Monitoring Programs and Health IT for Reducing Opioid-Related Mortality and Morbidity
Forthcoming in: Health Economics
51 Pages Posted: 16 May 2018 Last revised: 30 May 2021
Date Written: March 10, 2021
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 patient prescription data in PDMPs to reduce opioid-related mortality and morbidity. A novel dataset is constructed 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 inpatient morbidity. The reductions are substantial in states that established integration without ever mandating the use of a PDMP. A mechanism test suggests that PDMP integration works mainly through the hospital system while a mandate affects legal opioids prescription. The impacts from integration are strongest for the vulnerable groups – middle-aged, low- to middle-income patients, and those with public insurance. There is suggestive evidence that interstate data sharing further complements integration despite not having a significant impact independently. The results are robust to a set of tests using alternative specifications and measures. 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