The Complementarity of Health Information and Health IT for Reducing Opioid-Related Mortality and Morbidity
51 Pages Posted: 16 May 2018 Last revised: 24 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 22, 2019
In response to the opioid crisis, each U.S. state has implemented a prescription drug monitoring program (PMP) to provide health providers with patients’ controlled substance prescription information. I study whether health information technology (IT) complements the availability of patient information in PMPs to reduce opioid-related mortality and morbidity. I construct a novel data set that records state health IT policies that improve PMP data interoperability in cross-system integration and interstate data sharing. Utilizing difference-indifferences methods, I find that health IT policies reduce opioid-related mortality and morbidity. The inpatient morbidity reductions are most substantial in states that created PMPs but never mandated their use. The impacts are also strongest for the most vulnerable groups – middle-age and low- to middle-income patients and are robust when stratified by age, income, location, and insurer type. The total benefits from improved interoperability far exceed the associated costs.
Keywords: opioid crisis; prescription drug monitoring; health IT; technology policy
JEL Classification: I1, K2, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation