Renovations for the prescription drug data base have been needed for a long time coming, finally doctors in Los Angeles will have the ability to easily track prescriptions, weather they were written by someone in their office or not.
The data base that has been pledged by technical issues and programing that was anything but user friendly has been upgraded and now the searches are able to be delegated to nurses if the doctors can’t find the time to run it.
“The new system is more user-friendly,” said Deputy Attorney General Robert Sumner, who oversees IT projects for the Department of Justice. “It’s faster, it’s more responsive, it’s more intuitive.”
With prescription drug addiction now being recognized as an epidemic the improved data base is a much needed tool.
Being able to check for patients who are going to several doctors and several pharmacies to supply an addiction will allow doctors to get their patients who are addicted the help that they need.
“We had a single patient go to 116 prescribers over four years, and went to 58 pharmacies and got 45,000 dosage units of controlled substances worth at least $850,000 on the street,” said Virginia Herold, executive officer of the state Board of Pharmacy.
“If any of those 58 pharmacies or 116 practitioners would have checked, they would have seen that the patient in front of them, that may have only been in there once every 30 days, was actually going to other places and to multiple prescribers to get the medication,” she added.
While California does not require that a doctor or nurse checks the data base, a more user friendly data base means less time and more results.
“Before we make the system mandatory, let’s make sure it’s functional,” said Molly Weedn, spokeswoman for the California Medical Association.
The system has been implemented for a sort time but the projection of its impact seems promising.
“Physicians will automatically be told if, based on their prescription history, the algorithm has picked up that the patient might be at risk for doctor shopping,” Sumner said. “Whether or not you’ve gone to a number of different prescribers, whether or not you’ve been given a number of different prescriptions in volumes, and also the frequency at which you’ve been receiving prescriptions.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more Americans die from prescription opioid overdose than in drunken-driving car crashes.
Attorney General Kamala Harris said “This innovative prescription drug database ensures that California continues to lead the fight against our country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.”
Harris has also sent a letter to members in the medical community urging them to use the upgraded system in order to curb the amount of prescription overdoses and give help to those who desperately need it.