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

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.

Opioid Turmoil: Addressing the Link between PDMPs and e-Prescribing

Posted: August 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Controlled Substances, In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Opioids, PDMPs, e-Prescribing, Electronic Prescribing

With a nationwide opioid epidemic upon us, states are starting to insist that prescribers conduct a bit of research before writing prescriptions for addictive medications like pain medications or benzodiazepines. States have therefore created statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to monitor an individuals’ controlled substance dispense trends which are meant to assist a prescriber in making smarter treatment decisions. The goal here is to check a patient’s medication history to determine if the patient is doctor shopping or if they may have potential complications with medication(s) they are taking or have taken. Ultimately, PDMPs aid a prescriber in understanding the risks involved in prescribing these powerful medications for their patients.

“Databases known as Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs show doctors all controlled-substance prescriptions patients get and should be linked with the electronic health records (EHRs) that allow doctors to e-Prescribe.” USA Today

In most states, healthcare professionals who prescribe at least one controlled substance are encouraged, not required, to use PDMPs. The USA Today article addresses the fact that only five states promote the use of PDMPs and less than 20% of doctors use the databases when it isn’t required. On the other hand, e-Prescribing of controlled substances has proven to be an effective tool in combating this crisis, yet only three states have mandated the use of e-Prescribing, and one doesn’t enforce its own law.

Click here to learn more about e-Prescribing and how to stay ahead of this opioid crisis

All 50 States (and D.C) have now passed legislation allowing the e-Prescribing of both controlled and non-controlled substances, which is a drastic change from only a few years ago with federal regulations prohibiting the e-Prescribing of controlled substances.

Let’s take a look at the states that have mandated e-Prescribing:

New York: The first state to mandate and enforce its e-Prescribing laws as of March 2016, New York requires prescribers to check their state PDMP database and prescribers who continue to write paper prescriptions are subject to fines, jail time, or both. Since implementing, total numbers of opioid analgesics prescribed fell by 78%.

Minnesota: Technically the first state to deploy mandatory e-Prescribing, they currently do not enforce the use of such technology. The MN Department of Health recently reported that drug overdose deaths jumped 11% between 2014 and 2015 and more than half were related to prescription drugs, specifically opioid pain relievers, rather than illegal street drugs. Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said, “The new data show the need for a broader approach to addressing the root causes of drug addiction and overdoses.” Stay tuned.

Maine: Experiencing one of the highest death rates in the country due to opioid overdose, Maine recently mandated e-Prescribing for schedule II controlled substances and will be put into effect come June 2017. Similar to New York, prescribers will face fines, jail time, or both if they choose to utilize paper prescription pads.

New Jersey is also on the horizon to mandate e-Prescribing in due time. As a collective nation, we can no longer sit back and overlook the link between opioid overprescribing and opioid overdose. E-Prescribing and PDMPs should work hand in hand; the benefits are exceedingly visible and with 3-9% of opioid abusers using forged written prescriptions, it’s a commonsense solution. Protect your company, protect your providers, but more importantly, protect your patients. They depend on it.

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 http://www.DoseSpot.com.