The Complementarity of Drug Monitoring Programs and Health IT for Reducing Opioid-Related Mortality and Morbidity

51 Pages Posted: 16 May 2018 Last revised: 30 May 2021

See all articles by Lucy Xiaolu Wang

Lucy Xiaolu Wang

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Resource Economics; Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Date Written: March 10, 2021

Abstract

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

Wang, Lucy Xiaolu, The Complementarity of Drug Monitoring Programs and Health IT for Reducing Opioid-Related Mortality and Morbidity (March 10, 2021). Forthcoming in: Health Economics, Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3176809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3176809

Lucy Xiaolu Wang (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Resource Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.lucyxiaoluwang.com/

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

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