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Fleming Earns APhA Award for Study on Drug Monitoring Database

Faculty Member Examines Pharmacists' Intention to Use State's New Online System to Prevent Drug Diversion  

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04-15-13 Houston - A UHCOP faculty member’s study of Texas pharmacists’ intention to use an online database designed to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse was recognized with the American Pharmacists Association’s Postgraduate Best Podium Presentation Award at the APhA Annual Meeting March 1-4 in Los Angeles.

Assistant Professor Marc Fleming, Ph.D., MPH, R.Ph., brought home the award from the APhA’s Academy of Pharmacy Research & Science’s  Economic, Social and Administrative Sciences Section for his presentation on pharmacists’ views toward using the state operated database of patients’ controlled substance histories.

Fleming’s APhA presentation, entitled “Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to Predict Pharmacists’ Intention to Utilize a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Database,” was based on his dissertation at The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. His coauthors were Jamie C. Barner, Ph.D., Carolyn Brown, Ph.D., Marvin Shepherd, Ph.D., Scott Strassels, Ph.D., and Suzanne Novak, M.D., Ph.D.

The web-based Prescription Access in Texas (PAT) portal launched by the Texas Department of Public Safety last fall replaced the state’s outdated fax-based manual system which took 30-45 days for reports to be generated. Fleming employed the theory of planned behavior – a model incorporating various psychological factors such as attitudes and perceived social influence to predict subjects’ intention to pursue specific behaviors – to assess pharmacists’ intention to use the new online system.

Validation of the theory’s applicability in Fleming’s study offers PDMP system administrators and policymakers guidance for future initiatives to address provider attitudes and other factors toward the system, develop best practices to preserve workflow efficiency for providers, or even make modifications to the system itself.

“I believe technologies such as this, if used effectively, can save lives,” Fleming said. “The overall goal of my research is to increase awareness of the technology; identify potential areas for improvement, either in the functionality of the system or in provider education; and to reduce or eliminate barriers to providers’ willingness or ability to use the system.”

Fleming recently initiated the next phase of his research using separate behavior-prediction models to assess intention to use the database among emergency department physicians.