Wider adoption of electronic prescribing systems among healthcare providers could help reduce prescription drug abuse, according to experts speaking at a recent conference.
E-prescribing tools can limit drug diversion or "doctor shopping," and crack down on doctors who prescribe drugs for non-medical uses, CIO reports.
Only 2 percent of healthcare providers nationwide have adopted electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) systems, the article notes. The rate at pharmacies is far higher, at 78 percent.
In 2010 the Drug Enforcement Administration authorized the use of EPCS systems. Every state except for Missouri has established a framework for e-prescribing, the article notes.
Many providers and some pharmacies still believe that e-prescribing is illegal, according to Miya Gray, Vice President of Surescripts, a health IT network. "There's still a lot of misinformation out there in the healthcare community about EPCS," she said.
Gray said several states have enacted laws or programs to encourage e-prescribing. New York's Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing of Controlled Substances, known as the I-STOP program, requires doctors and pharmacists to check the state's drug monitoring database before they prescribe opioids.
Justin Berhaupt, a former aide to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who helped draft the I-STOP law, told CIO, "E-prescribing stops diversion. Paper prescriptions are stolen, they're forged, they're upticked. Changing a 3 to an 8 was something we saw time and time again."