Featuring posts written by the DoseSpot e-Prescribing Integration Team!

A Round Table Discussion: Dental Support Organizations’ (DSO) Views on the Opioid Epidemic, Part II

Posted: March 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Controlled Substances, Dental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

To continue our round table blog series, we shed light from the technical side of dentistry’s role in the opioid epidemic. This time, we sat down with Jason Wolan, Director of EHR Implementation at Great Expressions Dental Centers.

How does your organization view the opioid epidemic as well as your dentists’ role in this crisis?

Great Expressions Dental Centers recognizes an opioid epidemic in this country driven largely by what has historically been a very lax approach to responsible prescribing. Today a lack of commitment by major stakeholders to take hard stances on better regulating the manufacturing and supply of these drugs continues to fuel the fire. In many cases, exploration of alternative pain management therapies and more rigid prescribing protocols that mitigate excess supply and drive more frequent doctor-patient interaction for those on long-term pain management therapies would likely result in major strides to not only reduce excess supply, but reduce unnecessary consumption as well. As a leading DSO and supplier of these medications, it is our job in the dental industry to lead by example and set progressive prescribing protocols that focus on responsible pain management therapies reinforced by firm controls and processes that deter abuse.

Are you having internal conversations about how your organization can curb the use of opioids or dispense trends?

Internally, our transition to an electronic prescribing platform has really been the catalyst for all of this primarily allowing us to gain insight into the prescribing habits of our providers. Prior to prescribing electronically, we relied heavily on spotty computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and “good faith” prescribing based on paper prescriptions being written with little or no audit trail. Today, we are phasing out paper prescribing with an ultimate goal of reporting on prescribing habits, particularly as they relate to opioid prescribing, allowing us better insight into drug-volume and drug-frequency combinations that may raise red flags.

How do you think e-Prescribing assists in efforts to curb opioid prescribing habits?

First and foremost, e-Prescribing, as is the case with most transitions to electronic mediums, will allow for better organizational oversight which will likely cause an industry shift as providers begin to recognize the results of increased transparency. Access to this aggregated data will create an unprecedented level of ad-hoc and scheduled reporting of prescribing habits with the ability to begin to profile behaviors and automatically intervene as necessary. In the past, while prescribing could be tracked, much of the data was burdensome and time consuming to compile, but as electronic prescribing platforms and the industry standards have become so available, the ease with which most organizations can monitor and proactively engage providers today should be a major driving force in deterring abusive prescribing. Reinforcing the latter will come with a societal transformation of less tolerance for prescriber supported prescription drug abuse and the increased media coverage, both at the state and federal level, prosecuting the offending prescribers.

Do you have access to data that you currently, or plan to, utilize in regards to proving how your practices are focused on responsibly prescribing these substances?

Great Expressions Dental Centers is currently generating weekly reports of prescribing focused on drug-volume/drug-frequency combinations. While the organization has not completely transitioned to electronic prescribing, we have significantly reduced access to paper prescribing and expect to see the true value of electronic prescribing when we are able to profile our organizational prescribing practices in its entirety.

Are there any policies in place, or may be in the future, regarding how many pills should be dispensed per controlled substance?

As a DSO, our clinical operations, policies, and procedures, and guidelines are all set by our Chief Clinical Officer. A consistent patient experience defined by responsible care coordination for all Great Expressions Dental Center’s patients is the cornerstone of the brand we have established. A large part of that includes driving responsible practicing techniques and ensuring that our patients’ interests are front and foremost, this of course includes responsible prescribing to mitigate the risks associated with opioid prescribing and has existed prior to our engagement with electronic prescribing. In the future, we hope to leverage the platform further in this regard.

To listen to the full round table, download your copy here.

Some responses have been slightly edited for clarity and length.

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


A Round Table Discussion: Dental Support Organizations’ (DSO) Views on the Opioid Epidemic, Part I

Posted: March 22nd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Controlled Substances, Dental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As the opioid epidemic continues to grow across the nation, DoseSpot recently sat down with Key Opinion Leaders from Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) to discuss how their organization is implementing best practices to decrease opioid overdose deaths and increase patient safety, as well as their viewpoint on what dentistry’s role is during this crisis.

For part I of our blog series, our focus is on the clinical element of dentistry’s role in the opioid epidemic with Dr. John Zweig, Chief Dental Officer of Dental Associates.

How does your organization view the opioid epidemic as well as your dentists’ role in this crisis?

Dental Associates is keenly aware of the problem with opioids and we take a very deliberate role in managing patients’ pain appropriately with the minimum required medication. Educating patients and matching pain relief management with the present dental problem is very important.

Do you provide your dentists education, training, or resources regarding controlled substances?

Continually, Dental Associates has educated its providers on appropriate pain control measures and the use of controlled drugs. The challenge remains with patients whom insist on strong medications and working with them to minimize the prescriptions and the type of drugs used. More patient education is required, and our use of patient prescription histories is becoming more widely used to discover how to explain the minimum amount of medication used.

Within your dental practices, how do you communicate the important relationship between dentists and controlled substances?

Within our provider education, orientation and our monitoring of prescriptions, we continue to provide feedback to minimize prescriptions for controlled drugs both in type and quantity of medication provided.

How do you think e-Prescribing assists in efforts to curb opioid prescribing habits?

It actually reduces fraud; it ensures that we are writing the prescriptions the way we want them to be and that they get to the right people. Electronic prescriptions allows us to monitor this because potentially we may have a provider who is unknowingly or unwittingly giving out large amounts of drugs and we can have a conversation with them, potentially educate them, or make them aware of the situation. This isn’t about a “gotcha game,” it’s about educating providers on best practices.

How do you handle/communicate with patients that may have a substance abuse issue?

Well, many times, first, we use the Wisconsin prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). That has been in existence and the state has been encouraging us to use it. When using it, we find that many of the patients we’re concerned about are in pain management programs and so we refer them back to their pain managers to resolve their pain needs, so we’re not making it too complicated. For those not in a pain management program, we communicate the facts on their known prescriptions and advise them that we may be unable to prescribe more. We discover with that information, the push-back is minimal.

Anything else you think would be relevant in addressing dentistry’s role in curbing this epidemic?

The issue is a big problem, but I still think it requires education for patients and also the providers, because people have the expectation to reduce demand for pain medication. We need to educate the doctors on best practices with medications that are not controlled substances. We need to monitor and educate everyone.

Stay tuned for Part II: DSOs’ technical insight into dentistry’s role in the opioid epidemic.

To listen to the full round table, download your copy here.

Some responses have been slightly edited for clarity and length.

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


Patient Engagement Technology: What’s All the Fuss About?

Posted: February 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Patient engagement: the latest development in the healthcare industry, or is it?

You see, patient engagement has always existed. A little well-known term in the business world, “consumer engagement”, pioneered the strategies years ago that are utilized to engage customers, create better experiences, and enhance brand relationships to retain customers and increase revenue.

To be quite frank, these strategies have no “wow” factor. Engage with your customers to create brand loyalty and increase sales? Groundbreaking. Engage with your patients to improve health outcomes and lower associated costs? I see a trend coming on here.

While the healthcare industry has long understood the importance of having a patient engaged in their own health, it’s been said that the industry is typically five years behind with technological advancements. Perhaps it’s the resistance to change, the varying patient populations relative to age, or the perceived obstacles with seamless integrations for all pertinent parties, specifically EHRs.

However, one thing is certain: patient engagement technology is a viable solution that patients need, and deserve, to stay accountable and to stay connected in order to better manage their health.

The Benefits of Patient Engagement Technology

Now that patients are becoming more trusting of technology thanks to the Internet and social media, they have easier access to healthcare information at their fingertips. How many times have you googled your symptoms or visited WebMD rather than consulted with a doctor? Don’t be shy, we’ve all done it.

The downfall to these methods, however, is the potential danger involved if patients are self-diagnosing themselves without proper medical intervention. So, why not pair the two together?

The goal of patient engagement technology is to create a better relationship between providers and their patients. It’s also said that patients whom engage as decision-makers in their care tend to be healthier and have better outcomes, especially those dealing with chronic diseases.

Other benefits of using technology for patient engagement include:

The Challenges of Patient Engagement Technology

Though the benefits make sense, there are many challenges these latest tools are faced with. Not only is it new technology, but patient engagement will also require a cultural shift relative to changing behaviors and different communication preferences. Let’s not forget the operational and implementation challenges either.

Before an organization can determine what technology to use, it has to understand its users. Creating these personas will help healthcare technology organizations design better engagement tools with patients in mind, especially for older patients who might be less tech-savvy. It’s no easy feat getting providers and their patients to learn how to use these tools, as getting them up and running is most often viewed as a burden. That’s why there needs to be better integration with clinical workflows and simple-to-use products so providers aren’t wasting time on these technologies.

Furthermore, there needs to be more innovation in patient engagement tools. A glucose meter, an arm band, or a simple appointment reminder just isn’t going to cut it in today’s day and age. Give us substance, give us value, and give us healthier patients.

Other challenges of providers using technology for patient engagement include:

3 Patient Engagement Technology Companies to Watch

With so many patient engagement technologies being introduced to the market, here are 3 innovative companies making waves:

1. Klara

Klara takes collaboration to the next level. It’s not just a messaging application nor just an appointment reminder. Its platform engages all medical professionals for patients in order to be more efficient, more productive, and to work better as a team. They even tell you why “patient portals suck”. For more information please visit www.klara.com.

See how Klara works:

2. Medelinked

Medelinked encourages patients to manage their health by connecting with the healthcare community around them. It’s a secure mobile and online health platform that allows patients to build their health profile to discover, connect, and share their health and wellness information with their trusted healthcare providers. It not only connects individual patients, but families as well. For more information please visit www.medelinked.com.

See how Medelinked works:

3. AbleTo

AbleTo enables patients, payers, and providers to work together with their impressive behavior health care coordination platform that’s available nationwide to identify, engage, assess, and treat patients dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. They pride themselves in reducing co-morbid behavioral health issues to improve patient outcomes, decrease the cost of care and help people reclaim their health and happiness. For more information please visit www.ableto.com.

Listen to one patient’s journey with AbleTo:

Sources: NEJM Catalyst; Health IT Outcomes; EHR Intelligence; CIO; HIMSS

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


What the NFL Can Teach Us About Health Care Interoperability

Posted: February 2nd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Football Stadium; 50-Yard Line

With Super Bowl LI right around the corner, and as a lifelong NFL fan, I started to think about how crucial an integrated team is and how it can be applicable in so many occurrences. The latest buzz of health care interoperability, and the need for a connected health care system, further proves this point.

Let me explain.

NFL teams need proper strength and conditioning programs to improve agility and overall athletic ability for elite sport performance. Likewise, each position on a football team has a specific job, and they must work in sync to defend their opponent, gain yards, and score touchdowns to come out on top. Behind the scenes, their playbook is constantly being strategized, with plays being practiced over and over, while also throwing vital wrenches into the mix to keep the other teams guessing.

The same can be said for health care technology. Think of health IT as a football team. You have:

  • Key Decision Makers – the Coaches
  • Development and Implementation Teams – the Defensive and Offensive Lines
  • Providers – the Quarterbacks
  • Patients – the Fans

While the coaches are leading the pack and deciding what is best for their respective teams, they must collaborate with other members. Key decision makers might be at the top of the funnel, but they need to work with other departments, providers, and patients to bring new technology into health care delivery as efficiently as possible.

The defensive and offensive lines (development and implementation teams) also need to work together and follow suit with what the quarterback thinks is best for a particular play, i.e. what is best for the providers at point of care. The football (data) is passed back and forth, with the end goal of moving the ball down the field and scoring touchdowns, thereby creating loyal fans (patients) that continue to support and cheer for their team.

The ultimate “Super Bowl” win, in health IT’s case, is enhancing the patient experience and increasing patient satisfaction, while keeping all pertinent individuals connected.

Here are three things good ‘ol pigskin can teach us about health care interoperability:

1. Technology is Crutch for Game Time Success

Technology powers the league to monitor games and evaluate its officials, drives the instant replay system that helps officials in getting calls right, and enables communications that coaches, players and officials use during games.

All of this technology is particularly demanding on game day, when it must operate smoothly for a time-sensitive, live event that is unpredictable and sometimes played in bad weather. Making it all work requires attention to detail and the technical knowledge to troubleshoot on the fly and make the game seem like a well-oiled machine.

We know how important technology’s role in health care is, that’s a given. Latest developments like telehealth and remote monitoring programs are becoming increasingly popular, especially within rural areas. The demand for such technology has been in place for years, yet adoption and appropriate reimbursement models still move at a snail’s pace. Even so, the electronic efficiency put in place will allow providers to do what they do best and spend more time with their patients, while also improving the value of treatment relative to patient outcomes.

2. Make Smarter Game Time Decisions

Technology also helps players and teams communicate and gives coaches the tools needed to create game plans and to adjust them at any moment. It speeds up the pace of games, ensures that they run fairly and smoothly, while also improving the fans’ experience watching the game from home and at the game itself.

If a coach sees that certain plays aren’t working against a particular opponent, they adjust at time of play. They embrace innovation as a strategy, which is exactly what health care organizations and providers need to do. In order to make smarter treatment decisions, providers need the appropriate data and technological ability within a well-connected network for the well-being of their patients.

3. There Is No “I” in Team

I know this saying is extremely old, and perhaps a bit cheesy. However, it still serves a great point. Do you think the greatest teams in NFL history could have gotten to the Super Bowl as a one-man team? Besides the logistics of how the game of football is actually played, there isn’t one player completely responsible for the game’s entirety. Sure, there may be an MVP, but it’s the synergy of the team working together to achieve the same goal that makes them a winner.

With health IT, it works in the same manner. There cannot be responsibility placed on one sole party and there cannot be a disconnect between key players. At the snap, a quarterback typically doesn’t change the play that was already discussed unless there are certain circumstances involved. An off tackle won’t suddenly become an up the middle play last minute. No one would be prepared and the ball would most likely be fumbled.

Ideally, there needs to be a shift in how health data is exchanged between providers and other data users, including how it is accessed by patients. This is why the goal of seamless communication across providers exists, regardless of which EHR or Practice Management vendors they work with. While many are already in place, utilizing more powerful application programming interfaces (APIs) would allow for various systems to talk to each other and exchange data to create a better connected network.

So, what does this all mean?

A football team may not always be in perfect unison – there may be picks and fumbles along the way – but those that make it to the Super Bowl have proven their ability time and time again throughout the season because of their collective effort. This is ultimately what health IT is striving for with their interoperability goals. Still, this isn’t something you want to throw a “Hail Mary” for and hope for the best. Continue to place patients at the center of health care interoperability and there will be a Lombardi Trophy for everyone involved in due time.

Sources: NFL Operations; Modern Healthcare; EHR Intelligence

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


Nuts and Bolts of e-Prescribing: The Tools You Need to Get Started

Posted: January 27th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Dental, Digital Health, Medical, Telehealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

e-Prescribing Tools

Now that you’re well-versed in the world of e-Prescribing, let’s go one step further and prepare you for your own health care software’s e-Prescribing journey.

Here are some helpful tools to get you started.

Integration Tool Kit

The DoseSpot e-Prescribing Integration Tool Kit reviews everything you need to know about e-Prescribing integrations and what a partnership with DoseSpot e-Prescribing entails. Specifically, you will learn:

  • DoseSpot’s e-Prescribing Integration Platforms: Integration JumpStart and Integration Plus+
  • The markets we serve: Medical, Dental, and Digital Health
  • Development features, functionality, and API
  • Integration project cycles
  • The benefits of partnering with DoseSpot

Get your copy here.

How to Prepare Guide

With more than 150 e-Prescribing integrations under our belt, we know a thing or two about what an e-Prescribing integration requires. In our How to Prepare Guide, we take the guesswork out by providing you with the following information:

  • Specific patient demographic requirements
  • Character limits and field requirements
  • How to correctly transmit patient demographic information from your health care software to DoseSpot

Get your copy here.

Need more information? Feel free to schedule a meeting with us!

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


e-Prescribing 101, Part II: Controlled Substances

Posted: January 26th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Controlled Substances, Dental, Digital Health, Medical, Telehealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Controlled Substances - Prescription Pill Bottle

To continue our e-Prescribing 101 blog series, we shine light on controlled substances. What they are, their relationship to e-Prescribing, as well as the correlation between prescription drugs and the current opioid epidemic.

What is a controlled substance?

A controlled substance is a drug or chemical, such as illicitly used drugs or prescription medications, that is regulated by a government based on the drug or chemical’s manufacture, possession, or use.

Why are certain drugs categorized as a controlled substance?

A drug is typically classified as “controlled” due to the potential detrimental effects on a person’s health and well-being. As a result, state and federal governments have seen fit to regulate such substances.

It’s for this reason that drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs of this caliber are classified into five categories. The drug segregation is dependent upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

What are the medication schedules for controlled substances?

Schedule I

  • Drugs with no currently accepted medical use and hold a high potential for abuse.
  • Examples: Heroin, Marijuana (Cannabis), LSD, and Ecstasy

Schedule II

  • Includes drugs that are accepted for medical use, but have a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.
  • Examples: Vicodin, OxyContin, Adderall, and Ritalin

Schedule III

  • Drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence, with less abuse potential than Schedule I or Schedule II drugs.
  • Examples: anabolic steroids, testosterone, and Tylenol with codeine

Schedule IV

  • Drugs within this category have a low potential for abuse and dependence.
  • Examples: benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan), Tramadol, and Ambien

Schedule V

  • The lowest schedule for controlled substances, these drugs have lower potential for abuse and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics.
  • Examples: Robitussin AC, Lyrica, and Motofen

What is EPCS?

EPCS stands for the Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances and is a technology that has been put into place to help address the rising issue of prescription drug abuse in the United States.

Understanding two-factor authentication

This two-step process is part of EPCS and ensures that only an authorized prescriber can electronically sign and send controlled substance prescriptions to a pharmacy, thus increasing patient safety. The process includes the entry of something you have, such as a token generated one-time code, and something you know, like a password. There are various options for two-factor authentication including: fob tokens, mobile phone applications, smart cards, USB thumb drives, and fingerprint scanners.

What is an opioid?

Opioids are substances that act on the body’s opioid receptors to produce euphoric effects, better known as a “high”, and are most often used medically to treat moderate to severe pain that may not respond well to other pain medications.

Why are opioids so addictive?

Opioid drugs work by binding opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body to reduce the sending of pain messages to the brain, thus simultaneously reducing the physical feelings of said pain. They create artificial endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which tap into the “reward” sector of someone’s brain. However, with chronic use, opioids eventually trick the brain into stopping the production of these endorphins naturally. In doing so, the tolerance level increases and a patient is left with taking more medication to achieve the same effect.

They are most dangerous when taken in certain ways to increase the “high”, such as crushing pills and then snorting or injecting the powder, or combining the pills with alcohol or drugs, especially benzodiazepines. While some patients do take them for their intended purpose, they can still risk dangerous adverse reactions by not taking them exactly as prescribed, i.e. they take more at one time, or combine them with other medications not checked by their doctor.

Unfortunately, the fear of the intense withdrawal symptoms is often the biggest culprit when it comes to patients remaining addicted and ultimately leads them to continue taking the medication even if they no longer want to.

The correlation between prescription opioids and the opioid epidemic

In 2012 alone, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. In comparison to ten, even five years ago, this number is dramatically increasing as time goes on and more and more opioid overdoses are being reported on a daily basis.

Physicians and dentists are collectively responsible for providing 81.6% of opioid prescriptions in the United States and because of this, they have a very unique role in mitigating the impact of this opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction often starts at the hands of healthcare professionals simply trying to do their job, prescribing pain medications to relieve their patients of painful woes, especially during post-operative recovery.

While many prescriptions are meant for initial, short-term treatment, some doctors and dentists authorize refills time and time again because they want to help patients whom claim that they are still in pain. However, when the pill bottle and refills run out, patients are left seeking alternatives to create that euphoric escape they’ve become so accustomed to. This could mean an endless search of several different doctors to prescribe more substances (also known as doctor shopping), purchasing pills on the black market, or worse, turning to heroin as a cheaper and more readily available alternative.

Furthermore, the associated stigma often deters patients from receiving proper rehabilitation treatment and even if they do seek treatment, the government currently limits the number of patients a single provider may treat with drugs such as buprenorphine or methadone, which are both proven to reduce cravings and save lives. This leads to many patients relapsing.

How does e-Prescribing help?

  • e-Prescribing diminishes the possibilities of duplicate or lost prescriptions since the prescription is sent directly to the patient’s pharmacy.
  • A patient will no longer have a paper prescription where the dispense quantity can be altered.
  • Prescriber’s will have access to a patient’s medication history, therefore they can determine if a patient is doctor shopping or has a history of substance abuse.

Don’t miss the other parts of our e-Prescribing 101 series:

e-Prescribing 101, Part I: The Basics

e-Prescribing 101, Part III: End Users

Sources: DEA; DrugAbuse.gov; FDA

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


e-Prescribing 101, Part I: The Basics

Posted: January 26th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Controlled Substances, Dental, Digital Health, Medical, Telehealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Another year has come and gone. Time to start fresh, gain new perspective, and bring it back to basics. e-Prescribing basics, that is.

During our reflection on 2016, the DoseSpot realized that there’s so much information out there regarding e-Prescribing and its different components; so many key opinion leaders and incredible resources to tap into to help educate the world about e-Prescribing. However, how could we make it easier? How can we assist those who just want to learn more about e-Prescribing in general without the endless Google searches?

That’s why we decided to create a three-part blog series covering all e-Prescribing basics; a one-stop-shop to answer all of your e-Prescribing questions and curiosities.

We can promise you this – this is one New Year’s resolution we won’t give up on.

Let’s get started.

What is e-Prescribing?

The term e-Prescribing has become a popular buzzword in the healthcare industry, but what exactly does it mean? To put it simply, electronic prescribing, known in short as e-Prescribing, is a method of prescription transaction that allows prescribers to write and send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically instead of writing, phoning-in, or faxing. It ultimately replaces the costly paper prescription pad and tamper-proof printing paper from a prescriber’s office for good.

e-Prescribing solutions have the following capabilities:

  • NewRx: Route new prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy of choice.
  • Refills: Receive prescription renewal requests and submit responses between doctor and pharmacy.
  • Medication History: View aggregated medication history data from pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) upon receipt of patient consent.
  • Prescription Benefit: Surescripts’ Prescription Benefit service puts eligibility, benefits and formulary information at a prescriber’s fingertips at the time of prescribing. This enables prescribers to select medications that are on formulary and are covered by the patient’s drug benefit.
  • Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS): Product has achieved Surescripts EPCS certification and has provided third-party audit documentation as required by the DEA.

What are the benefits?

e-Prescribing is not just the ability to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies. It can also increase care quality in a number of ways:

  • Eliminates the time and effort of trying to understand the prescriber’s handwriting, as well as the chance of an error in that translation.
  • Makes sure that the prescriber is providing enough specific information for the pharmacist to fill the prescription, including the name of the drug, the dosage, its physical form, the route, and the prescriber’s instructions.
  • Ensures that any 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.
  • Checks a patient’s pharmacy benefit and associated formulary at point of care to encourage the prescriber to choose the best medication option, both medically and financially.
  • Increases patient medication pick-up adherence. Between 28% and 31% of all paper prescriptions either never make it to the pharmacy, or are not picked up once patients see how much it will cost.
  • Drives down healthcare costs and improves patient satisfaction by getting medications to patients in a timely, convenient, and secure manner at the patient’s pharmacy of choice.
  • Curbs prescription drug abuse and increases patient safety. No longer will a patient have access to a paper prescription, therefore no more altered dispense quantities, stolen prescription pads, or lost or duplicate prescriptions.
  • Lowers costs associated with purchasing expensive paper prescription pads and the time and resources spent on redundant administrative tasks.
  • Simplifies clinical workflows and allows prescribers to do what they do best and spend more time with their patients.

Who can e-Prescribe?

State or provincial legislation governs who can write a prescription, and under these rulings, any licensed physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, etc. allowed to write prescriptions by hand can also prescribe electronically.

Many electronic prescribing vendors also allow the use of proxy users, such as nurses, medical assistants, or office staff. While they cannot legally send a prescription to a pharmacy, they are able to access the e-Prescribing solution and fill in all required fields of the prescription for a prescriber to then approve and send.

What pharmacies allow e-Prescribing?

All 50 states and D.C. allow the e-Prescribing of both controlled and non-controlled substances and more than 90% of pharmacies can receive e-Prescriptions. Of course this includes the larger retail pharmacy chains such as CVS and Walgreens and mail-order pharmacies like Catamaran and Express Scripts.

Don’t miss the other parts of our e-Prescribing 101 series:

e-Prescribing 101, Part II: Controlled Substances

e-Prescribing 101, Part III: End Users

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


Addressing Dentistry’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic

Posted: November 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Controlled Substances, Dental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Unfortunately, the opioid epidemic that is currently grappling the United States isn’t exactly news. Headlines appear on a daily basis in regards to this addiction, the overdoses and fatalities, as well as the healthcare community’s contribution to this crisis, both the good and the bad.

We’ve seen Congress, the Surgeon General, and many other organizations make extreme efforts to combat this crisis, yet despite the widespread media attention, many healthcare professionals still don’t realize how dangerous the drugs can be or how addictive they are.

DoseSpot recently conducted a live webinar in an effort to educate and discuss the critical role that dentists in particular play in mitigating the current opioid epidemic that is upon us and during that time, the following crucial points were made:

The blame game needs to stop

Blaming others only diverts the necessary action of collectively coming together as a nation, regardless of one’s associated industry. Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Politics – there needs to be a strong, unified foundation for which we can assemble and fight this battle together.

Break the habit: prescribing patterns of pain medication

Dentists serve a unique role in overcoming this epidemic due to the nature of their work and the procedures they perform, specifically wisdom teeth extraction. It’s a fair statement that the majority do not enter the healthcare industry with ill intent of harming their patients, yet it’s also fair to say that lack of proper education and prior pharmaceutical marketing tactics have fueled poor prescribing patterns. In order to change one’s behavior, programmed thoughts and approaches must be reevaluated.

Opioid addiction does not discriminate

This addiction can affect anyone regardless of one’s socioeconomic status or in some cases, a person’s relationship to their dentist. What DoseSpot coins as “The Insider Threat,” we reveal how certain folks pose a potential risk relative to obtaining controlled substances, both knowingly and secretively. Stories of addiction that are shared during our recent webinar further prove that opioids do not discriminate.

Solutions are available

The truth of the matter is, there is not one single solution that can work independently. It needs to be a collective effort and innovation is critical to success. There needs to be multifaceted solutions to tackle this complex problem ranging from increasing specialty training and education to proper treatment technology, data, and analytics.

To learn more on dentistry’s role in the opioid epidemic, watch the full webinar here.

Presenters:

Greg Waldstreicher, CEO, DoseSpot

Dr. John Zweig, Chief Dental Officer, Dental Associates

Donald Whamond, Chief Technology Officer, Dental Associates

Jason Wolan, Director of EHR Implementation, Great Expressions Dental Centers

Daniel Smelter, Director of Business Analysis, Benevis, Inc.

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


The Impact of Digital Health on the Ages

Posted: November 1st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Telehealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Digital Health connecting the dots

How does digital health affect the circle of life?

Today, a patient’s well-being rests in the hands of multiple healthcare professionals, including primary care providers, specialists and surgeons – and sometimes in their own hands with the latest medical devices and technological advances.

In keeping up with this new delivery model, it’s important to understand how people of all ages, pediatric to geriatric, attribute to the nation’s overall population health, its effects on the healthcare system and the United States’ bottom line, while also understanding how technology can play a major role.

This free eBook addresses:

  • The definition of digital health, the current landscape, as well as what’s to come
  • How individuals of all ages affect the health care system and how digital health can help
  • Three health care specialties positioned for digital health growth
  • The role of technology as we shift to value based care
  • Missing pieces of the digital health offering

Download your free copy here!

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts™ certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.


3 States Laying Down the Law on Opioids

Posted: October 27th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Controlled Substances, In the News, Public Policy, Security, Standards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

On par with our last post, the widespread media attention and devastating losses associated with our nation’s current opioid epidemic has sparked certain state legislatures to regulate and improve providers’ prescribing habits for prescription painkillers.

With good intentions in tow, some rulings seem to lack readily available solutions that are proven to curb this crisis. However, they do realize that their recent proposals do not mark the end of this uphill battle, rather multifaceted solutions need to be in place to truly, and successfully, overcome this epidemic.

[Read: Overdose Awareness – The Time to Stand Together is Now]

Here are three states that have recently proposed rulings on how opioids should be prescribed:

Vermont

Coined as a “cutting-edge” approach to overcoming the opioid crisis, Governor Peter Schumlin announced proposed limits on the number of opioid medications that could be prescribed.

Like every other state, Vermont has seen an incredible increase in deaths related to opioid and heroin overdose in recent years and Governor Schumlin is no longer sitting on the sidelines.

Earlier this year, he approached both the FDA and pharmaceutical industry in his State of the State address claiming that OxyContin “lit the match that ignited America’s opiate and heroin addiction crisis,” and that the booming American opiate industry knows no shame, an outcry after the FDA approved OxyContin for children a few months ago.

The proposed ruling states that the severity and duration of pain will determine the specific limit for a prescription of opioids. For example, a minor procedure with moderate pain would be limited to 9-12 opioid pills and the amount would increase based on the procedure performed and the level of pain a patient claims. The ruling would also require providers to discuss risks, provide an education sheet to the patient and receive an informed consent for all first-time opioid prescriptions.

The Green Mountain State’s Governor believes that limiting the number of opioid pills prescribed would be an effective way to reduce addiction, yet some folks believe the ruling would only encourage patients to seek illicit drugs elsewhere if they cannot receive pain medication through their provider.

This does make sense considering many former and current heroin abusers have stated that their addiction started from a prescription and when the pill bottle ran out, they were left seeking these drugs on the streets, which have proven to be very, if not more, dangerous than the prescription.

However, the intent of the Governor’s ruling is to prevent addiction from ever happening in the first place. His ruling is specific to cases of acute pain, therefore changing the over-prescribing habits and learned behavior of utilizing opioids as first-line therapy; habits that ensued in large part due to incentives, the surge of pharmaceutical marketing tactics and claims that painkillers were not addictive.

[Read: How Costly Are Prescription Pain Meds?]

New Jersey

With the rate of drug overdose deaths on the rise by 137% since 2000, New Jersey is another state to recently propose new regulations on how and to whom opioids are prescribed.

New Jersey, much like many other states, believes that prevention is key when fighting this crisis and they couldn’t be more correct. Unfortunately, several barriers often occur when seeking appropriate treatment after a patient becomes addicted, (for example, providers are limited to certain amounts for which they can administer reversal drugs), and therefore why not PREVENT addiction, rather than simply TREAT addiction when at many times, it’s too late?

Senator Raymond Lesniak has introduced a bill that would put restrictions on health insurance coverage for opioid medications, while also requiring prescribers to first consider alternative pain-management treatments, follow federal prescribing guidelines and explain the risk of addiction with such substances to their patients before prescribing. Furthermore, providers will need to complete several steps before receiving approval of an opioid prescription. These steps include providing a patient’s medical history, conducting a physical exam and developing an appropriate medical plan for treating a patient’s pain.

While new rulings in place can certainly shift this epidemic, Angela Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said it best:

“Awareness and education is the key factor in preventing the abuse of opiates—everyone must have a role in reversing this epidemic, including lawmakers, parents, coaches, educators, and yes, even doctors and dentists.” – Angela Valente

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians Responsible for Opioid Prescribing, further backs Valente’s point while also motioning that the medical community has been prescribing too aggressively.

[Read: The Opioid Epidemic: Are Dentists the Black Sheep?]

Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania experienced 3,500 deaths last year as a result from drug overdose, one of the highest overdose rates in the nation.

The state has had a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for quite a few years now, however it wasn’t functional until August 2016, when their new program was officially rolled out. Pennsylvania requires providers to query the state’s prescription drug database the first time they prescribe a controlled substance to a patient or if they have reason to believe that the patient is doctor shopping.

Governor Tom Wolf addressed other initiatives underway including requiring providers to query the database EACH time they prescribe opioids, updating medical school curriculum and continuing education, changes to the process of pain care to lower inappropriate use of opioids, and improved screening, referral and treatment for addiction.

What’s bothersome in Pennsylvania, is the method in which these substances have to be prescribed. The Pennsylvania Controlled Substance Act requires narcotic prescriptions to be handwritten on paper prescription pads, yet every other substance can be electronically prescribed. This allows the risk of written prescriptions being lost, stolen, or sold. Luckily, Senator Richard Alloway intends to introduce this measure before the legislative session’s end.

It’s promising to see how the above states are utilizing their state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PDMP. All three require their prescribers to query the affiliated state database, however the parameters in which, or how often, they check varies.

While said efforts are better than no effort at all and states are starting to fully understand the need for multifaceted solutions in order to overcome this epidemic, one key solution is missing. E-Prescribing.

[Read: The Link Between PDMP’s and e-Prescribing]

How does e-Prescribing help combat this epidemic?

  • e-Prescribing diminishes the possibilities of duplicate or lost prescriptions since the prescription is sent directly to the patient’s pharmacy
  • A patient will no longer have a paper prescription where the dispense quantity can be altered
  • Prescribers will have access to a patient’s medication history, therefore they can determine if a patient is “doctor shopping” or has a history of substance abuse

To learn how to incorporate e-Prescribing as a solution to the opioid epidemic, schedule a meeting with DoseSpot today.

Sources: NY Times; Boston.com; ABC News; Press of Atlantic City; PennLive

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts™ certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.