Clinical styles and practice policies: Influence on communication with patients regarding worrisome prescription drug monitoring program data

Christi Hildebran, Gillian Leichtling, Jessica M. Irvine, Deborah J. Cohen, Sara E. Hallvik, Richard A. Deyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives. Clinician communication with patients regarding worrisome findings in Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) may influence patient responses and subsequent care. The authors studied the range of approaches clinicians report when communicating with patients in this situation and how practice policies and procedures may influence this communication. Design. Qualitative interviews of clinician PDMP users. Setting: Oregon registrants in the state's PDMP. Subjects. Thirty-three clinicians practicing in pain management, emergency medicine, primary care, psychiatry, dentistry, and surgery. Methods. The authors conducted semi-structured interviews via telephone with clinicians who routinely used the PDMP. A multidisciplinary team used a grounded theory approach to identify ways clinicians reported using information from the PDMP when communicating with patients, and policies that influenced that communication. Results. Clinicians reported using a range of approaches for communicating about PDMP results, from openly sharing, to questioning patients without disclosing access to the PDMP, to avoiding the conversation. Clinicians also reported practice policies and procedures that influenced communication with their patients about prescribing and ongoing care, including policies that normalized use of the PDMP with all patients and those that facilitated difficult conversations by providing a rationale not to prescribe in certain circumstances. Conclusion. Clinicians' self-reported approaches to sharing PDMP findings and communicating prescribing decisions with patients vary and may be facilitated by appropriate practice policies. Such communication may have implications for patient engagement and alliance building. More research is needed to identify best practices and potential guidelines for effectively communicating about PDMP findings, as this may enhance health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2061-2066
Number of pages6
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016


  • Doctor-Patient Communication
  • PDMP
  • Policy
  • Prescription Drug Abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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