How to Curb Doctor Shopping, Reduce Opioid Abuse, and Save Lives
The opioid crisis is getting worse.
ePrescriptions can help.
Prescription drug abuse has reached alarming levels, and people are dying at unprecedented rates. Almost 50,000 people die every year from opioid overdose alone.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics:
- Up to 92% of opioid abusers use prescription opioids at least once a year.
- Prescription opioid abuse costs $78.5 billion annually in the form of healthcare, legal programs, and lost productivity.
- Prescription opioids are a factor in 32% of opioid overdose deaths.
- Pharmacies fill 153 million opioid prescriptions in a year.
- Doctors write enough opioid prescriptions for 46.7% of Americans to receive one.
Prescription drugs are often the initial source of people developing a deadly drug addiction. Some shocking statistics:
- 45.8% of American adults used a prescription drug – legally or not – within the past 30 days. Healthcare specialists generally agree that a high rate of use and availability drives reported rates of prescription drug abuse, addiction, and, ultimately, overdose.
- 16.3 million people misuse prescriptions in a year.
- 52 million, or 18.4% of Americans over the age of 12 have deliberately misused prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime.
- 2.0 million people, or 11.9% of people who misuse prescriptions, are definitively addicted to the prescription drugs they misuse.
- Prescription drugs are the third-most abused illegal substance after marijuana (with 19.4% of the population using) and cocaine (with 15.9% usership).
To access additional prescription drugs, at-risk patients are “doctor shopping” – seeing multiple medical professionals, either in person or online, in order to refill prescriptions. Many times unsuspecting doctors will write scripts without knowing other scripts for the same medications have already been filled at a different pharmacy, ordered by another doctor. Not only are these meds contributing to addiction, they are also being sold illegally on the black market.
One of the best ways to reduce doctor shopping and control access to prescription drugs is through ePrescribing.
How ePrescribing Software Can Reduce Drug Abuse
All 50 states and the District of Columbia now allow the ePrescribing of controlled and non-controlled substances, and more than 90% of pharmacies can receive ePrescriptions. ePrescribing software has greatly impacted reducing medication errors, enhancing patient safety, streamlining the process of sending prescriptions to the pharmacy, dispensing medication, and obtaining refills.
As of January 1, 2023, Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) Federal mandates are in full effect. Practitioners issuing electronic prescriptions for controlled substances (EPCS) must use a software application that meets all Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requirements. EPCS has many benefits, such as improved patient safety and workflow efficiencies, fraud deterrence, adherence management, and reduced burden.
Today, 35 states have also passed mandates for electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, with the aim being to reduce the risk of stolen or forged prescriptions and to prevent patients from ‘doctor shopping’ between states. If we look back at opioid abuse alone, nearly 80% of heroin users reported using a prescription opioid before heroin.
Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) is a prescriber’s ability to electronically send Schedule II–V controlled substance prescriptions directly to a pharmacy from the point of care. It is an important element in improving the quality of patient care, and it has the potential to minimize medication errors for patients and reduce prescription forgery, diversion, and theft to combat prescription drug abuse.
Although the federal ePrescribing mandate took effect on January 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a compliance date of January 1, 2023. It is time for serious consideration if you haven’t already implemented an ePrescribing system.
It is important that healthcare providers are on board with the requirements and have the ePrescribing tools and reporting in place to ensure safe patient care and compliance. As healthcare companies continue to digitize, ePrescribing is essential to ensuring prescriptions are reliable, safe and manageable.
Here are a few of the many benefits:
- Better Care with Full Medication History:
View aggregated medication history data from pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) upon receipt of patient consent. This information helps providers establish smarter treatment plans and identify potential abuses.
- Compliance With Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS):
Ensures all EPCS certifications and third-party audit documentation, as required by the DEA, is met before a prescription can be transmitted. To ensure Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) compliance, both status and incident reports for EPCS are necessary for certification for controlled substances, as well as Identity Proofing (IDP) and Two-Factor Authentication (TFA).
- Compliance with PDMP / NARX Reporting:
Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are state-level programs designed to improve opioid prescribing, inform clinical practice, and protect patients at risk. PDMPs aim to identify changes in prescribing behaviors, track patients’ use/appointments with multiple providers, and attempt to decrease substance abuse treatment admissions. NARX reporting establishes patient risk scores and usage patterns to help identify potential risk factors for PDMPs. With most states using these programs, utilizing NARX scores to identify risk, receiving full PDMP reports, and accessing multi-state reporting is critical to ensuring patient safety.
“While change on this scale always requires an adjustment, health systems that have implemented EPCS have experienced significant benefits. There’s now much better visibility into the physician-specific patterns of prescribing controlled substances, thanks to the electronic medical record (EMR). The data and auditing capabilities are much more robust, allowing health systems to identify diversion and act or remediate sooner.”SOURCE: https://medcitynews.com/2023/02/why-federally-mandated-electronic-prescribing-for-controlled-substances-will-benefit-public-health/
- Streamlined Cost and Workflows for Real-Time Prescription Benefit:
With built-in workflows including formulary and prescription benefit checks to confirm coverage, co-payments and medication options, Real-Time Prescription Benefit is a step forward in drug-price transparency that allows patient-specific medication costs to be returned via a technology feed at the point of care. Using ePrescribing software, once a medication is selected, it runs through an algorithm that evaluates insurance eligibility, formulary information, prior authorization requirements, pharmacy location, and other factors to pull back an exact out-of-pocket patient cost in seconds. It will even suggest lower-cost medicines used to treat the diagnosed condition that is covered within the patient’s prescription plan.
- Improved Patient Care & Safety:
ePrescribing can ensure medication refills are completed quickly and safely for the best care. Drug-drug and drug-allergy interactions based on a patient’s medication history are found and reported to the prescriber before the prescription order is completed. ePrescribing software can also help curb prescription drug abuse and increase safety because the patient doesn’t have access to alter dispense quantities on their paper prescription or try to duplicate it with stolen prescription pads.
ePrescribing software has many advantages that save time, improve patient safety, and provide better tracking to monitor prescribing behavior and abuse. It’s time you added it to your practice management tools so you don’t get left behind. More than 70,000 healthcare professionals each week rely on DoseSpot’s Surescripts and EPCS certified ePrescribing platform to deliver care and write prescriptions. Scripts are sent securely to the pharmacy– creating a more efficient delivery of services and less hassle for the doctor and the patient.
Check out our Services and Integrations to learn how you can get started with DoseSpot.