Opioid prescribing patterns and patient outcomes by prescriber type in the Oregon prescription drug monitoring program

Patrick B. Fink, Richard A. Deyo, Sara E. Hallvik, Christi Hildebran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective. Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) were created to facilitate responsible use of controlled substances. In Oregon, physicians, physician’s assistants (MDs/DOs/PAs), dentists, nurse practitioners (NPs), and naturopathic physicians (NDs) may prescribe opioids, but differences in prescribing practices, patient mix, and patient outcomes among prescriber types have not been characterized. Methods. De-identified Oregon PDMP data from October 2011 through October 2014 were linked with vital records and a statewide hospital discharge registry. The disciplines of registered prescribers were identified by board affiliations. Prescription profiles associated with opioid overdose risk were tabulated for patients with at least one registered prescriber. Opioid-related hospitalizations and deaths were identified using ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes. Results. There were 5,935 prescribers registered during the study period. Patients of NPs or NDs received more high-risk opioid prescriptions than patients of MDs/DOs/PAs. For example, they received greater proportions of high-dose prescriptions (NP 12.9%, ND 15%, MD/DO/PA 11.1%), and had greater opioid-related hospitalization (NP 1.7%, ND 3.1%, MD/DO/PA 1.2%; P < 0.005 for all). However, patients of NPs or NDs were also more likely to have four or more prescribers (NP 45.3%, ND 58.5%, MD/DO/PA 27.1%), and most of their patients’ high-risk opioid prescriptions came from prescribers in other disciplines. Conclusions. Our analysis suggests significant differences in opioid prescription profiles and opioid-related hospitalization and mortality among patients receiving opioid prescriptions from nurse practitioners, naturopathic physicians, or medical clinicians in Oregon. However, these differences appear largely due to differences in patient mix between provider types rather than discipline-specific prescribing practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2481-2486
Number of pages6
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Clinical practice patterns
  • Opioid overdose
  • Opioids
  • Prescription drug monitoring programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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