Study Finds Inspect Program Helps Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

By: Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Last Updated: June 9, 2014

indiana-professional-licensing-agency-logoIn 2012, the Harold Rogers grant program and the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency funded a study to look at the effectiveness of INSPECT (Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection & Tracking Program) and the impact it was making to reduce prescription drug abuse. Today, the findings of that study were presented to the Board of Pharmacy by Dr. Eric R. Wright, the principal researcher for the INSPECT study.

From the nearly 6,000 doctors, pharmacists, dentists, physician assistants and other professionals who can prescribe and dispense controlled substances, the survey found INSPECT is widely known and used by prescribers, and the program is an effective tool for monitoring patient prescriptions and for reducing controlled substance misuse and diversion.

“Medical professionals recognize the benefits of the INSPECT program and that this tool is helpful in prescribing controlled substances to patients,” said Nicholas Rhoad, Executive Director of the IPLA. “By having more information at their disposal about patients prescription drug history, doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare providers can more accurately address the health and wellness needs of their patients.”

Here are some of the key findings from the study:
A majority of the survey respondents were medical doctors (37.4 percent) with pharmacists being the next highest profession (26.9 percent).
The average time spent practicing by respondents in their primary fields was 18.9 years.
85 percent of the survey respondents had heard of INSPECT, of which, 70.7 percent used the program.
The biggest barrier for respondents using the system was a lack of time; almost 40 percent of the respondents said there were no barriers to using the system.
In the past 12 months, 35.7 percent of respondents have changed their prescribing habits with 91.6 percent of these people prescribing “fewer” or “far fewer” controlled substances. INSPECT was the main reason for prescribing fewer controlled substances over half of the time.

“Indiana is at the cutting edge for their efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion,” said Dr. Wright. “INSPECT gives prescribers and dispensers another tool to accurately diagnose Hoosier needs, and the survey recognizes that medical professionals are beginning to prescribe less controlled substances as a result.”

Recommendations for the INSPECT program and the healthcare industry were also given as medical professionals would like to see more continuing education for prescribers and dispensers regarding best clinical pharmacological practices; regulations and law enforcement policies/practices regarding drug diversion; current data on trends and patterns of prescription drug misuse; and updates on current research for treating acute and chronic pain.

The respondents overwhelmingly noted that the government should not require prescribers to review INSPECT prior to writing a prescription for a controlled substance; however, they did feel the State should strongly encourage its use while also improving access to INSPECT and its operational functioning (e.g., moving toward “real time” data reporting).

The Key Findings and Recommendations from the IPLA INSPECT Knowledge and Use Survey can be found on the INSPECT website by clicking here.

Background on the Survey
The 2013 IPLA INSPECT Knowledge and Use Survey was administered through the Center for Health Policy at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, and it was created in collaboration with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, the Center for Health Policy, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force.

The Center for Health Policy was solely responsible for analyzing the data and summarizing the findings from the research. The report was formulated to improve the INSPECT program and provide better support to healthcare providers.

Background on INSPECT
INSPECT summarizes the controlled substances a patient has been prescribed, the practitioner who prescribed them and the dispensing pharmacy where the patient obtained them. The goal of INSPECT is to serve as a tool to address the problem of prescription drug abuse and diversion in Indiana. By compiling controlled substance information into an online database (PMP Webcenter), INSPECT performs two critical functions: 1) maintains a warehouse of patient information for healthcare professionals; and 2) provides an important investigative tool for law enforcement.

The program continues to be partially funded through the Harold Rogers grant program, which provides similar funding in other states. Additional funding for INSPECT is provided at the state level, derived from a percentage of controlled substance licensing fees.