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Opioid abuse: fighting back with EPCS and PDMP

March 10, 2020
Prescription medication

A country in crisis

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 128 people in the US die every day from an opioid overdose. Accidental overdoses of prescription substances are rising at an alarming rate.

Fighting the abuse of highly addictive substances can be daunting, but there are programs in places to help. States are mandating new tools to help address the avenues that enable these types of abuse.

New tools are available to prescribers to help decrease the enabling of opioid abuse. Technology provides new way to prevent prescription alteration and forgery. More than that, technology helps track patients and prescriptions. Having alerts to possible issues is imperative to fighting abuse.

Opioid abuse prevention with technology

A nationwide effort is underway to solve the critical opioid abuse epidemic. 

Regulatory bodies, pharmacies, healthcare IT companies, and physicians are working together toward a common goal to deter and reduce opioid abuse. This involves prioritizing early detection and prevention.

Fighting opioid abuse with EPCS and PDMP

There are government programs to aid the fight against opioid abuse. Two common ones are Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) and Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS).

PDMP is an electronic database that tracks controlled substance prescriptions. PDMPs can help clinicians identify patients who may be misusing opioids or other prescription drugs. This helps identify patients who legitimately need medications for pain treatment and management.

EPCS allows prescribers and pharmacists to write prescriptions for controlled substances electronically. This reduces the instances of forgery, abuse, and misuse. Prescribers can send, receive, dispense, and archive e-prescriptions. Similar to what EHR systems like CGM APRIMA and CGM eMDs have done for patient data, EPCS streamlines the prescription process.

In fact, many states already mandate the use of PDMPs and EPCS. According to DrFirst, a partner of CompuGroup Medical, there are currently 44 states with mandates in place. 49 states and the District of Columbia have active PDMP databases that collect and report prescribing and dispensing data to authorized users. Additionally, EPCS is strongly encouraged in all 50 states. Many states require prescribers to register with them to access PDMP data and perform mandatory queries.

Check to see if your state has PDMP or EPCS mandates in place.

Getting started with EPCS and PDMP

Fighting opioid abuse with technology isn’t as daunting as it seems. With the right software, starting can be quick and painless. CompuGroup Medical and DrFirst partner to use EPCS Gold with in-workflow access to states’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs). These solutions are integrated into prescribing workflows, which saves providers time while helping them comply with state mandates.

From the desk of our CMO Dr. Eric Weidmann, read more to learn how one practice is using EPCS successfully in the fight against opioid abuse.

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