Texas PMP: Progress and Unanticipated Benefits

Texas Prescription Monitoring Program Campaign: Progress and Unanticipated Benefits 

By Mike Mackert

In the fall it was announced that the Center for Health Communication (CHC) was awarded a contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to develop a health communication campaign to support Texas’s response to the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the CHC would develop a communication campaign to promote the use of the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) as a tool for prescribers to make appropriate prescribing decisions.

I’ve already written about the formative research we conducted in the fall to guide message design, and now we’re deep into the execution phase and refining key messages and tactics. As an example, it’s clear that promoting the ability of prescribers to delegate access to the Texas PMP to a member of their team is (1) something a lot of prescribers don’t know about and (2) makes the use of the Texas PMP more attractive and easier to fit into existing workflow. This will be prominent in all of our materials.

One thing I’m particularly excited about this work, though, is the unanticipated but important content opportunities that have emerged. This is the result of an engaged team of CHC staff, along with faculty from across campus, thinking about these issues and considering how our work on the Texas PMP might be more broadly useful for communicating about issues related to pain, opioids, and provider-patient communication. For example, it led to the creation of a list of top five things for providers to consider when talking about pain with patients. We’ve also started to create social media infographics to link to important information about the PMP (Texas PMP FAQ) to start spreading this information immediately and test how much this kind of content can spread via social media.

There will be more on this project in the coming months as we continue to test messages and support state-wide rollout and evaluation of the campaign. For now, it continues to be one of the CHC’s most exciting projects that lets us put the evidence base of health communication into practice and contribute to state-wide public health efforts.