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

The Top 5 TED Talks for Health IT

Posted: March 13th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Time is often not on our sides and we find ourselves with less hours in the day to catch up on the news and to learn new things.  Video and auditory content is a great alternative to reading and can be convenient and insightful to get informed about things that interest you. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks have been increasing in popularity as well as volume over the years. Here are 5 of our favorite TED Talks from over the years that highlight a wide range of Health IT topics. Enjoy!

Wearables, Beyond the FitBit

What if doctors could monitor patients at home with the same degree of accuracy they’d get during a stay at the hospital? Bioelectronics innovator Todd Coleman shares his quest to develop wearable, flexible electronic health monitoring patches that promise to revolutionize healthcare and make medicine less invasive. More here.

An Oldie, but a Goodie: Innovation in Health IT

Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient’s bedside. More here.

Progression of Collecting Health Data: From Paper to the Cloud

Collecting global health data is an imperfect science: Workers tramp through villages to knock on doors and ask questions, write the answers on paper forms, then input the data — and from this messy, gappy information, countries and NGOs need to make huge decisions. Data geek Joel Selanikio talks through the sea change in collecting health data in the past decade — starting with the PalmPilot and Hotmail, and now moving into the cloud. More here.

Get Curious, Start Innovating

Science is a learning process that involves experimentation, failure and revision — and the science of medicine is no exception. Cancer researcher Kevin B. Jones faces the deep unknowns about surgery and medical care with a simple answer: honesty. In a thoughtful talk about the nature of knowledge, Jones shows how science is at its best when scientists humbly admit what they do not yet understand. More here.

Nanotechnology and the Future of Disease Detection

What if every home had an early-warning cancer detection system? Researcher Joshua Smith is developing a nanobiotechnology “cancer alarm” that scans for traces of disease in the form of special biomarkers called exosomes. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares his dream for how we might revolutionize cancer detection and, ultimately, save lives. More 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.


Through an Attendee’s Lens: Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting Recap

Posted: March 8th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Dental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

On February 23-24, 2017, I had the privilege of visiting the Windy City to attend the 152nd Chicago Dental Society (CDS) Midwinter Meeting. With the show theme of “leadership”, the bustling event attracted more than 28,000 attendees and the agenda was full of influential speakers, enticing exhibits, insightful lectures, and networking opportunities.

Opening Day

The conference kicked off with a bang on Thursday to a packed exhibit hall featuring more than 6,000 exhibitors comprised of 500+ booths. The opening session that evening was led by John F. McDonough, President and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. Through his speech he discussed leadership and its direct correlation to success. Something that really resonated with me was when he said, “In sports it’s hard to win, really hard to win. So much more goes in to it than just talent.” In retrospect, I think this thought applies to much more than sports, but also in industry. It takes a lot more than just talent, or a great product, or great service to be a leader in your industry, be that in dental practice management solutions, running a dental practice, or in e-Prescribing.

Awards

A number of prestigious awards were presented throughout the weekend to individuals who best portray the key values of not only the Chicago Dental Society, but also the dental industry as a whole. The winners were as follows:

  • Dr. K. William ‘Buddy’ Mopper was presented the Gordon J. Christensen Lecturer Recognition Award as an acknowledgement of his contributions to the dental profession in the area of conservation dentistry which places a value on conserving teeth opposed to extraction and implants.
  • Dr. Thomas Sullivan, past President of the Illinois State Dental Society and former Vice President of the American Dental Association (ADA), was awarded the George H. Cushing Award for his contribution to public awareness and importance of oral health.
  • Dr. Flava Lamberghini was awarded the CDS Foundation Vision Award in recognition of philanthropy by providing preventive dental care to students in more than 60 Chicago public schools.
  • An award was also provided to third-year dental student, John Tran, who wrote an interesting essay titled, “Thinking about Another Sweet Gulp? Think Again”, that reviewed the risk that sugar and sweetened drinks have on your teeth. You can read the full essay here.

Continuing Education

Continuing education drew large crowds with over 200 courses offered on a wide variety of topics ranging from clinical topics like 3D imaging, prosthodontics, implants and CPR, to business development topics such as communication and technology. Again, an overall theme of leadership could be seen throughout many of the courses with topics covering Practical Leadership, Strategic Leadership, Visionary Leadership, Business Decision-Making and Leadership, and of course the Leadership 101 course.

Networking and Special Events

A number of networking events were held as a means to gather individuals from similar locations and experience. Some well attended events included the New Dentist Reception held for dentists who have practiced for ten or fewer years and a special breakfast reception for the Wisconsin residents. There was also a special buffet luncheon provided for dental students and dentists alike to learn about the Chicago Dental Society’s Mentor Program and there was even a Country Night which offered the musical tunes of a country cover band. In staying with the yearly theme of ‘leadership’, fashion leaders were highlighted at the Fashion Show and Luncheon. The show wrapped up on Saturday with the ever-special President’s Dinner Dance which featured the Chicago Dental Society President Phillip Fijal and the music of the High Society Orchestra.

Reflection

Overall, I found the Chicago Midwinter Meeting to be impressive and inspiring. Throughout my time on the exhibit room floor, I was able to witness dentists old and new, dental students, hygienists, office staff, and even supportive family members taking in all the show had to offer. New skills were learned, new equipment was tested, and new business relationships were made. I look forward to seeing how this show will continue to grow at the 153rd Midwinter Meeting next year which will focus on “A Dental Triad: Pride, Passion, and Professionalism.”

Author: Lindsey W.

Sources: Chicago Dental Society; Chicago Dental Society Facebook; Chicago Dental Society Honorees

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.


Follow the Leader – What We Can Learn From the First State to Mandate e-Prescribing

Posted: March 2nd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, Public Policy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s no secret that e-Prescribing has its benefits. Many professionals agree that eRx greatly improves patient safety and reduces overall health care costs by lowering potential medication errors. Additionally, the ability to electronically prescribe controlled substances (also known as EPCS) greatly reduces fraud while preventing patients from being able to “doctor shop”, or receive multiple prescriptions for the same drug via different prescribers.

According to Paul Uhrig, Chief Legal Officer for Surescripts, between 3-9% of all opioid abusers use or have used forged prescriptions. With e-Prescribing, the ability to forge prescriptions is completely taken off the table. On top of that, with the addition of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) now implemented in all 50 states, prescribers are able to see all pertinent data that has been pulled from the patient’s electronic health record (EHR). This inevitably helps them make more knowledgeable and appropriate choices when prescribing scheduled medications.

With so many known benefits of e-Prescribing, and also because of the nationwide opioid epidemic, many states are getting on board the mandate train, which requires that by law, all prescribers must submit prescriptions electronically. There are currently 3 states which have this e-Prescribing mandate: New York, Maine, and Minnesota and many more that already have legislation in the works for an e-Prescribing mandate.

Taking the First Step: Minnesota Mandate

Minnesota was the first state to create an e-Prescribing mandate, which was intended to push all prescribers to establish and maintain an electronic prescription program that complied with state standards (listed here), effective January 1, 2011. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota measures the status of e-Prescribing in three ways: total transactions, enabled pharmacies, and prescriber utilization. They’ve provided the following chart to demonstrate the increase in e-Prescribing transactions since 2008:

We can see that there was a pretty steep jump in 2011, which is when the mandate went into effect. However, the climb from 2011-2013 was slow yet steady.

Reinforcement of the Mandate, or Lack Thereof

The Minnesota Department of Health reiterates that there is currently no enforcement mechanism for not complying with the state’s e-Prescribing mandate. MDH does stress the benefits of e-Prescribing to providers as well as threaten with the possible implications of non-compliance from a patient/healthcare perspective. When the mandate was first released, it was implied that there would most likely be future establishment of enforcement methods. However, as of today, there is still no means of forcing providers to comply with the mandate.

Because there are no negative repercussions to providers who do not comply, there are many that choose to still utilize paper prescriptions, especially when it comes to sending controlled substances. According to Surescripts, only 3.5% of doctors in Minnesota were using EPCS in 2016. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health showed that drug overdose deaths increased 11%, reporting 516 deaths in 2014 to 572 deaths in 2015. These statistics could very well be unrelated to each other, but it still goes to show that that there is work to be done in Minnesota in regards to the opioid epidemic and electronic prescribing.

Some Considerations

Even though there is proof that it has its benefits, the challenges that come with implementing e-Prescribing can’t be ignored. Understandably, and rightfully so, prescribers have long expressed that their main focus is on their patients and they generally don’t enjoy being dictated by the government if it means being intrusive in helping their patients. This is especially true when it involves new systems that require onboarding and training time, but it can also be an even bigger challenge for prescribers to find the funds to support the implementation of an e-Prescribing system.

With these two large considerations in mind, it’s important that future states not only allow healthcare software companies and associated practices ample time to get their e-Prescribing systems up and running, but also offer some form of incentive or enforcement mechanism to keep prescribers in compliance. However, it’s even more important to remind prescribers that the perceived difficulty during the transition time in the beginning is minimal in comparison to how many benefits will transpire in the future. It’s all about taking that first step.

Author: Shannon K.

Sources: Minnesota Department of Health; Minnesota Department of Health Fact Sheet; MN e-Prescribing Guidance; Decision Resources Group; USA Today; Managed Care Magazine

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.


The Relationship Between Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) and the Evolving Healthcare Delivery Model

Posted: February 6th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Dental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The significant role of oral health and its contribution to an individual’s well-being has come under scrutiny as of late. In 2014, it was estimated that more than 181 million Americans would not visit a dentist because of several barriers to care, or a self-diagnosis of “my mouth is healthy – I do not need to visit the dentist.” Other reasons noted by individuals not seeing their dentist on a consistent basis were: cost or no insurance, limited dental access in their area or lack of transportation, or they simply did not have the time.

With this data in tow, a more efficient and readily available business model has become increasingly popular within dentistry: Dental Support Organizations.

What is a DSO?

According to the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO), Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) contract with dental practices to provide critical business management and support, including non-clinical operations, and range from small to large size organizations serving dental practices throughout the country.

The business models of DSOs do differ and while the neighborhood family dentist typically treats the general patient population, dental practices supported by DSOs often focus on specific populations. For example, some DSOs are entirely focused on meeting the needs of pediatric patients, while others are focused on more rural populations. This is not to say that DSOs do not serve the general population, as many still do.

The Patient Experience

The true patient benefit of a DSO model lies in the integrated technologies and streamlined processes. DSOs offer patients many time saving benefits including:

    • Online appointment booking systems
    • Online bill pay
    • Flat rate appointments
    • Flexibility to visit dentists between multiple offices
    • Electronic prescription routing

Why Dental Service Organizations Are Here To Stay - an Infographic by Dental Care Alliance
Dental Infographic
by Dental Care Alliance

The Role of Technology Within DSOs

DSOs are at the forefront of technology, both from a clinical and administrative standpoint. They pride themselves on remaining innovative, not only to better treat their patients, but to also have a competitive advantage and to attract and maintain new dentists. From billing software to detailed patient charting to specific treatment mechanisms, technology is embedded in nearly every workflow.

While many DSOs have thrown out their dentists’ paper prescription pads and have adopted electronic prescribing (e-Prescribing) software, there is still plenty of room to grow. e-Prescribing software provides dentists with the ability to send non-controlled and controlled prescriptions electronically directly to the patient’s pharmacy which adds convenience to the patient’s experience.

In addition to the prescription writing feature, e-Prescribing includes high value functionality for the dentist, patient and management teams such as:

  • Insight into a patient’s current medication regimen.
  • Ability to check for drug-to-drug and drug-to-allergy interactions at the point of care to help improve treatment decisions.
  • Reporting capabilities that share what is prescribed and in what quantities to assess for in regards to compliance. This is especially crucial with the current opioid epidemic and having the ability to track prescriptions for controlled substances.
  • Documentation for both the dentist and the patient including dental specific dosing information, as well as medication monographs.

What’s Ahead for DSOs

DSOs are continuing to shake up the dental industry. New DSOs continue to emerge, while existing ones are frequently acquiring new dental practices, therefore expanding and continuing to growing throughout the country. As previously discussed, cost and limited access to care were the most popular barriers, but DSOs offer streamlined solutions for both barriers as they are committed to the improvement of oral health in the United States through the accessibility of high-quality dental care. It is only a matter of time before more and more dentists hop on board.

Sources: American Dental Association; Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO); ADSO Whitepaper; National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dental Care Alliance

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 III: End Users

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

e-Prescribing End User; Doctor, Dentist

As we discussed in our previous post, e-Prescribing is the electronic transmission of a prescription from the prescriber’s device to the patient’s pharmacy of choice, therefore replacing the traditional paper prescription.

How does e-Prescribing work for end users?

While e-Prescribing software comes in many shapes and sizes, e-Prescribing integration is directly integrated into healthcare software such as an Electronic Health Record / Electronic Medical Record, telehealth application, or dental practice management solution. By way of integrating e-Prescribing into a healthcare software, the e-Prescribing platform becomes an integral component of a healthcare software’s product offering.

e-Prescribing integration seamlessly allows a prescriber to log into their existing healthcare software, select a patient, then search for, enter and send an e-Prescription for the patient in a few short steps. The process saves the prescriber time while improving patient outcomes.

What are the benefits of a custom, white labeled solution?

When an e-Prescribing solution is “white labeled”, this means the e-Prescribing user interface mirrors the look and feel of the healthcare software in which the e-Prescribing solution has been embedded. Colors, fonts, font sizes, layout – you name it – can all be completely customized to provide a seamless experience for end users.

Furthermore, mobile optimization has become a major trend as more healthcare software solutions are operating in the cloud and prescribers are accessing applications from multiple devices and multiple locations. This is why it’s important that the e-Prescribing functionality performs well in different environments, but most importantly, on smaller screens.

Responsive design is critical in ensuring that any e-Prescribing solution is accessible on every device. It’s the best one size fits all solution as this type of design allows the webpage to expand and contract in order to perfectly fit within any screen in both the traditional office and mobile settings. Ultimately, responsive design cuts down on development time as the e-Prescribing user interface does not need to be adjusted manually for each type of device (i.e. mobile, tablet, laptop, or desktop).

What does it take to cross the finish line and go live?

To go live with e-Prescribing and be able to send prescriptions electronically, all healthcare software companies must go through a Surescripts™ e-Prescribing integration review. Surescripts operates the largest health information network that connects the diverse and expansive community of care partners nationwide, including pharmacies, providers, benefit managers, and health information exchanges.

As part of this e-Prescribing integration review, healthcare software companies will have to successfully execute various test scenarios during a web meeting with Surescripts. Test scenarios will be provided for the following services:

  • 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.

Upon completion, healthcare software companies will be listed on the Surescripts website.

Healthcare software companies also looking for the ability to Electronically Prescribe Controlled Substances (EPCS) will need to go through a similar testing process with an approved e-Prescribing of Controlled Substances auditor such as the Drummond Group Inc., one of the first DEA approved certification bodies for EPCS.

Learn about DoseSpot’s e-Prescribing integration process by downloading our latest Integration Tool Kit.

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

e-Prescribing 101, Part I: The Basics

e-Prescribing 101, Part II: Controlled Substances

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.


Maine’s New Mandate and What It Means for Opioid Prescribers

Posted: November 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Controlled Substances, In the News, Public Policy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Maine is well known for its rocky coastline, iconic lighthouses, sandy beaches, and lobster shacks. However, past the classic scenery is where you’ll find the state dealing with a crisis that others across the United States are also experiencing: the opioid epidemic.

In 2015, Maine suffered an astounding 272 drug overdose deaths, following 208 deaths of the same cause in 2014. Sadly, there is no end in sight. Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills declared that drug overdose deaths are up 50% in 2016, with the first 6 months of the year experiencing 189 drug overdose deaths alone. What’s worse, the number of overdose-related deaths in 2016 is expected to reach a new record, surpassing those numbers of 2014 and 2015.

“Heroin addiction is devastating our communities,” Maine Governor Paul LePage said in a statement. “For many, it all started with the overprescribing of opioid pain medication.”

As a state with the largest number of patients per capita on prescription for long-acting opioids, the news that prescribed pain medication is further fueling opioid addiction is unsettling.

This is why Maine has decided to take action.

Maine’s new statue, “An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program,” entails a number of rules and regulations designed to reduce the harm of over-prescribing opioids relative to the abuse and misuse of such substances. This bill, signed into law by Governor LePage, mandates a number of changes for doctors and dentists who prescribe controlled substances in Maine.

[Read: The Maine Mandate – Confronting Controlled Substances Head-On]

What changes will be implemented?

Dosing and Duration of Schedule II Medications

First, this law imposes limitations on the medication dosage, as well as the duration of a prescription, that can be prescribed to a patient. According to Gordon Smith, JD, Executive Vice President of Maine Medical Association (MMA), the original bill limited opioid prescriptions to three days for acute pain and fifteen days for chronic pain. However, this legislation will now mandate a limit of seven days for acute pain and thirty days for chronic pain on opioid prescriptions. This law goes in to effect January 1, 2017.

In terms of dosing, prescribers may not prescribe any combination of opioid medication in an aggregate amount of more than 100 Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MMEs) per day to new opioid patients (after July 29, 2016). Existing opioid patients with active prescriptions in excess of 100 MMEs per day are referred to as “Legacy Patients” and prescribers may not prescribe any combination of opioid medication in an aggregate amount of more than 300 MMEs per day from July 29, 2016 to July 1, 2017.

Prescription Monitoring Program

Maine prescribers are required to query the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database prior to prescribing opiates. Although this requirement has been in place since 2005, surveys indicate that only 7-20% of Maine prescribers currently utilize the state’s PMP.

The purpose of checking this central state database is to identify patients who may be doctor shopping and minimize multiple controlled substance prescriptions for one patient. This aligns with the state’s hope of empowering healthcare providers to recognize potential substance abuse and treat patients accordingly.

PMP’s can also be most effective when linked with an e-Prescribing solution. Working together, e-Prescribing eliminates the need for paper prescriptions, thus reducing the risk of altered dispense quantities, stolen prescriptions or prescription pads, and the reselling of such prescriptions before they’re filled as a means of lessening the red flags if a patient is doctor shopping.

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

Continuing Education

Via this statute, prescribers must complete three hours of continuing education every two years as a condition of prescribing opioid medications. This specific addiction training is only required if a prescriber wishes to continue prescribing opioids.

Electronic Prescribing

All opioid prescriptions must be sent electronically as of July 1, 2017.

What exceptions are part of this mandate?

The Maine Medical Association (MMA) confirms that exceptions from the law’s provisions may be granted for the following:

  • Cancer Patients
  • Hospice Care
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Patients on Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)
  • Patients receiving medication in hospitals and nursing homes

The MMA is currently seeking an exception for burn victims as well.

Due to the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law takes priority over state law, therefore prescribers within the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) cannot be regulated by this type of legislation so long as the medication is dispensed at a VA pharmacy. Furthermore, dosage and duration limits would not apply to a prescription written for a veteran by a prescriber outside of the VA system if the prescription were filled in a VA pharmacy.

How does this bill measure up?

With this bill, Maine becomes the third state behind Minnesota and New York to require e-Prescribing and the second to require the electronic sending of a controlled substance after New York imposed a similar mandate in March of 2016. Since the implementation of New York’s mandate, total numbers of opioid analgesics prescribed fell by 78% within the first four months.

Important dates to remember:

7/29/2016

Prescribers may not prescribe any combination of opioid medication in an aggregate amount of more than 100 Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MMEs) per day to new opioid patients

7/29/2016 – 7/1/2017

Prescribers may not prescribe any combination of opioid medication in an aggregate amount of more than 300 MMEs per day to “Legacy Patients”

1/1/2017

Duration limitation goes into effect. All opioid prescriptions cannot exceed seven days for acute pain or thirty days for chronic pain.
7/1/2017 All opioid prescriptions must be sent electronically

Lastly, as part of the state’s strategy, Maine has launched Dose of Reality, a website to help educate and inform their citizens of the dangers of painkillers and where to turn for help.

Author: Lindsey W.

Sources: Maine Medical Association; Maine.gov; Medscape; WCSH6; Bangor Daily News

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.