Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

A. D. Paltiel


The Washington State Prescription Drug Monitoring Program collects records of all prescriptions for controlled substances in the state. If medical professionals check the database before prescribing, they can make better prescribing decisions. They may identify multiple legitimate or illegitimate prescriptions that put the patient at risk of harmful drug interactions, or uncover other relevant information. Reducing drug diversion and “doctor shopping” helps address the opioid crisis, which is partly fueled by inappropriate prescribing.

New integration software makes it significantly faster for prescribers to check the database, but the cost of the software may forestall its purchase and use. This study set out to answer whether the benefits of this integration software – measured as the value of time saved by using a faster system, and any subsidies providers receive from using the software – outweigh the costs.

The results show that for an average provider organization with about 1,300 queriers, the benefits of purchasing integration software outweigh the costs, based on a 3-year estimated useful life of the software. For larger providers of over 50 queriers, this will tend to hold true, whereas for smaller providers, this does not hold true. If the state or another entity wanted to incentivize smaller providers to purchase this software – to reduce overdose deaths from prescription opioids, and other social costs of inappropriate prescribing – subsidies would need to create net benefits to the provider.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access