An estimated 80 percent of abused controlled substances are obtained by prescription and legally dispensed to the abuser, an abuser’s friend or a family member. In many cases, opioids are obtained through so-called “doctor shopping” — seeing multiple doctors and obtaining a prescription from each.
According to industry research and reported in the National Center for Policy Analysis, for every $1 in fraudulent drug claims, an additional $41 dollars is spent on associated medical claims — unnecessary physician visits, redundant medical tests, unnecessary emergency room visits, etc. Over the course of a dozen years studied, the rate of fatal prescription opioid overdoses nearly quadrupled, from 1.4 deaths per 100,000 population to 5.4.
A solution to this problem is electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Transmitting prescriptions electronically is a way for doctors to directly communicate with pharmacies — rather than handing a patient a paper form ripped from a pad. E-prescribing facilitates detection of doctor shopping. In addition, once a prescription for a chronic condition has been prescribed, refills should require less effort by doctors and patients.
E-prescribing has shown that it is much more secure than paper prescription pads, particularly in stopping illegal dispensing of narcotics. According to the SureScripts® database, 12.8 million e-prescriptions were written last year for controlled substances.
Why is e-prescribing so frequently talked about in regards to helping fight the opioid epidemic? By removing the prescription from paper distribution, the opportunities to tamper with the prescription are reduced significantly. E-prescribing solutions like those provided by eazyScripts allow a practitioner to send a prescription for a controlled substance straight from their office to the pharmacy, eliminating the chance for a prescription to be lost, stolen, sold, or altered in a way to assist in diversion.
U.S. states with robust prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) have fewer prescription opioid overdose deaths than states with weaker PDMPs. EazyScripts’ advanced e-prescribing solutions provide physicians with access to PDMPs and offer complete ID proofing, with two-way authentication, and an audit trail archive.
E-prescribing empowers providers to do what is best for patients, helping them exercise professional judgment and ensuring safe dispensing of controlled substance prescriptions. At the same time, it has been shown to save significant costs by avoiding fraudulent drug abuse and the associated healthcare problems it produces.