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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pilot Program Launching Real-Time Prescription Drug Records Database

Logo of the United States Department of Health...
Logo of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The news nationwide is "peppered" with articles about prescription drug abuse and overdoses. Even here on our blog we have often written about prescription drug abuse. Many states have designed prescription drug monitoring databases to help prevent people from doctor shopping in order to obtain multiple prescription for opiate based pain relievers.

This past week Reuters reported that the Obama Administration is launching a new pilot program which will "make it easier for doctors, pharmacists and emergency departments to access patients' prescription drug records, aiming to stem a rising tide of deadly abuse."

Here are some facts to consider:
  • Currently 49 US states have authorized or passed legislation to create prescription drug monitoring systems.
  • Prescription drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States, more than those resulting from car accidents, heroin abuse and cocaine abuse combined.
However, there is often up to a 30 day lag in the data being accessible when someone accesses the database. The current databases do not necessarily update in real-time. So now the Federal Government has initiated a pilot program which will be overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health IT (Information Technology) division. The pilot program will be started in Ohio and Indiana.

According to Marty Allain, a senior director at the Indiana Board of Pharmacy: "We're trying to make it as convenient as possible" by merging the government data with the electronic health record systems already being used in medical practices and pharmacies.

This pilot program is the first step on a very long journey, with each step more lives will be saved and more people will seek treatment for their addiction as opposed to seeking sources for pills.

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