Opioid Crisis: Best Practice Opportunity

The U.S. and state Attorneys General are aggressively pursuing cases against practitioners, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies for their alleged role in contributing to the opioid crisis. Just do a quick search on the Associated Press news feed and you’ll see story after story detailing the seriousness of the issue and the legal quest for accountability.

Technology and new laws are aiding doctors like you in your continual quest to provide the best care possible to your patients. We’ll focus on one key component of this technology in this article: electronic prescribing. Commonly known as e-Prescribing, this more-secure digital method replaces traditional pad and pen, phone and fax prescriptions.

More than half the states across the country have already implemented new laws, or have a future mandate in place, requiring Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS). Mandatory e-Prescribing will likely continue to gain traction. Even in states without e-Prescribing laws, doctors are switching to protect patients and their practice.

What exactly is electronic prescribing?

e-Prescribing simply refers to special software used to create and securely send a prescription to the pharmacy. This can be a prescription for ANY medication, including controlled substances. Once the prescription is created, the doctor reviews, signs and sends it to the pharmacy using a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Your clinical workflow is similar to your current prescribing process. The only differences you’ll notice will actually make your work easier. First, you can electronically prescribe from any location, using any computer or device. Second, e-Prescribing combines the many steps of your prescribing workflow into one streamlined process, saving you valuable time. And, third, the level of security and compliance far outweigh traditional methods, better protecting patients and your practice.

Prescribe with greater safety, efficiency and confidence.

One of the biggest benefits of technology is the opportunity to reduce multiple steps into just a few actions. Quick access to resources puts critical information at your fingertips. For example, e-Prescribing software often provides you access to patient prescription records dispensed at any U.S. pharmacy, dating as far back as five years. There is also direct access to the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP). Rapid access through your e-Prescribing software to the PMP instantly shows you the patient’s prescription history of controlled substances. With all of this information, you know exactly what kind of meds and controlled substances have been prescribed, as well as how often prescriptions have been filled.  This immediate access to pharmacy and PMP controlled substance history can prevent you from unknowingly falling victim to “doctor shopping”.

Couple that comprehensive prescription background information with direct access to a built-in drug information directory, like Lexicomp, and you have robust history, drug dosing and contraindication information in one place, right in front of you. Within minutes you are able to make informed decisions as to what, how much and even if the patient should be prescribed an opioid or other med. You can literally see the layers of protection built into every step in this process.

With patient and practice protection at the forefront, it is also important to note that e-Prescribing offers additional improvements to your clinical workflow. Electronic prescribing software may interface or integrate with your current practice management system. If so, patient data will auto populate, reducing errors and saving time from duplicative data entry.

Protect your practice.

As you’ve heard or may have experienced, doctors can also fall victim to a stolen prescription pad or a falsely edited prescription. We know you are on a constant mission to protect the patients you care for, so this kind of misuse is especially disturbing.

E-Prescribing removes those factors from the equation. There aren’t any prescribing resources accessible to patients either in your office or in their hands on the way to the pharmacy. Every prescription written through your e-Prescribing software, is kept safely out of reach from people with mal-intent.

An added and critical layer of security is tied to e-Prescribing opioids and other controlled substances.  You’ll use two quick verification forms to prove you are indeed the prescribing doctor. These unique authentication tools are only accessible to the prescriber, preventing someone from impersonating you and illegally writing scripts for controlled substances.

Best Practices = The Best Practice

Whether required by law or as a facet of developing best practices, e-Prescribing is a powerful intervention. Combatting this epidemic has catalyzed technological development, allowing doctors to prescribe with greater accuracy, safety and efficiency.

iCoreConnect, a VDA Services Endorsed Partner, develops cloud-based technologies to improve and protect your practice. VDA members receive special discount pricing on iCoreRx e-Prescribing service. Book a demo or call 888.810.7706.