Partners HealthCare integrates state opioid tool into its EHR

Partners HealthCare announced integration of the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT), which enables access for providers to help prevent and manage substance use disorders, directly into its electronic health record (EHR) system.

MassPAT is an online tool that promotes safe prescribing and dispensing patterns by allowing prescribers and pharmacists to access their patient’s prescriptive history within the past year.


By viewing a patient’s prescription history in MassPAT, a provider can avoid duplication of drug therapies and coordinate care by communicating with other providers to improve clinical outcomes and overall patient health.

Integration of MassPAT into Partners’ EHR system, Epic, will further assist prescribers by making a patient’s controlled substance prescription information available to them within the patient’s electronic clinical chart.

According to a recent Massachusetts Department of Public Health report, more than two-thirds of state residents who died from an opioid-related overdose between 2011 and 2014 had a legal opioid prescription at some point during that time period.

[Opioid crisis: How tech and policy are fighting the epidemic]

The report also revealed that non-fatal overdoses in the state increased by close to 200 percent between 2011 and 2015.

“A critical piece of helping to prevent over-prescription of opioids is ensuring that providers have an accurate picture of patients’ prescription history,” Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health Monica Bharel, said in a statement. “MassPAT is an integral part of the Commonwealth’s strategy to support and connect health care providers.”

She explained that having the Partners HealthCare system fully integrated and focused on ensuring that its clinicians have access to this tool is an “important advancement” in the state’s collective efforts to curb the opioid epidemic.

The state already imposes a seven-day limit on first-time prescriptions of opioids to patients, and mandates all prescribers check the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) before prescribing Schedule II or III substances.


Integrating PDMP information, analytics, insights and resources into EHRs and pharmacy management system workflows is a critical step in the progression of optimizing the use of PDMPs.

“We’re arming our providers with more robust, point-of-care access to the state’s prescription drug monitoring program to support safe and responsible treatment of pain, and to better manage substance use disorder,” Partners HealthCare chief quality and safety officer Thomas Sequist said in a statement.

He explained that by viewing a patient’s prescription information in MassPAT, Partners’ providers are better informed about their patient’s medication use, can avoid duplication of drug therapies and can coordinate care by communicating with other prescribers to improve clinical outcomes.

On a national level, an online resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, made available in February, gives healthcare providers and communities better visibility into controlled substance prescribing patterns.

The tool includes data for Medicaid prescribing, enabling geographic comparisons of Medicare Part D opioid prescribing for urban and rural communities. CMS said the update is aimed at helping combat the crisis by better informing local prevention and treatment efforts, especially in underserved and rural communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. 

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: [email protected]

Twitter: @dropdeaded209 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication. 

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