The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians and other prescriber associations met with the directors and staff of the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) and the State of Ohio Pharmacy Board (SOBP) on December 7 to discuss concerns with the threatening emails prescribers have been receiving about Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) compliance. The meeting was productive as the OARRS director attended taking detailed notes about issues that prescribers were experiencing.
Despite concerns expressed by the OAFP, the SMBO plans to continue to notify licensees who fail to check OARRS before prescribing an opioid or benzodiazepine according to monthly data reports mined from OARRS by the SOBP. It does appear, however, that slowly but surely the list is being cleaned up. The SMBO indicated that December’s emails will number 4,000 which is substantially down from the first round of emails sent to 12,000 licensees just three months ago.
Meeting attendees spent a lot of time talking about efforts to integrate electronic medical records (EMRs) with OARRS so that accessing OARRS would be seamless from a practice’s EMR. In addition, the OAFP complained that email notifications do not pinpoint the patients who are missing OARRS checks, nor do they exclude physicians who do not have to check OARRS per statutory exceptions. Unofficially, the SOBP seems to think that there might be a possible fix to pinpointing the patients, but there seems to be no fix available at this time to address the exceptions issue.
The OAFP offered to provide physicians to serve as members of a focus group to help the both boards understand how and why people are getting hung up in the system and why prescribers are showing up when they shouldn’t be. In turn, the boards pledged to provide frequently asked questions for dissemination to physicians/prescribers to assist them with navigating OARRS and being in compliance with new laws and regulations.
According to the SMBO, feedback from licensees and from the prescriber associations has been valuable in identifying gaps in training, education, and functionality of OARRS. Both boards indicated that they are taking all comments seriously and will incorporate that information into new OARRS education modules and OARRS software updates anticipated in the Spring 2017.