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Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

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

Wang, Lucy Xiaolu (2021). The Complementarity of Drug Monitoring Programs and Health IT for Reducing Opioid-Related Mortality and Morbidity, Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-14.

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.

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