Survey: More Than 25% of Physicians Unaware of Rx Drug Databases

March 4, 2015 in News

More than 25% of physicians are unaware of state prescription drug monitoring programs, according to a survey published in the journal Health Affairs, Becker’s Hospital Review reports.


Forty-nine states have implemented their own prescription drug monitoring programs, which allow physicians to access databases to help with clinical decisions and identify patterns of patients’ drug shopping behavior (Rappleye, Becker’s Hospital Review, 3/3).

Survey Details

For the survey, researchers in February 2014 polled 1,000 primary care physicians selected from the American Medical Association’s Physician Masterfile. The survey yielded responses from 420 eligible physicians (Rutkow et al., Health Affairs, March 2015).


According to the survey, 72% of physicians said they were aware of state prescription drug databases. Of those, just 53% said they actually use the databases.

The survey found that 57% of respondents who were aware of the databases said the programs greatly or somewhat helped reduce prescription drug misuse.

Of the 53% of respondents who had used the prescription drug databases, the survey found:

  • 98% said it was somewhat useful;
  • 74% said it helped reduce overprescribing opioids; and
  • 69% said it was very or somewhat easy to access data.

In the month prior to the survey, respondents who had used the databases said they had used a prescription drug database for an average of eight patients.

The researchers also identified several barriers among physicians who either did not use the databases or who felt they were not useful, including:

  • A lack of patients who required using information available in the databases;
  • The amount of time it took to access the database; and
  • The confusing layouts of the databases (Becker’s Hospital Review, 3/3).
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