Electronic Prescriptions Help Prevent Drug Abuse - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Electronic Prescriptions Help Prevent Drug Abuse

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Back when doctors only wrote prescriptions with pen and paper, forgeries were a problem.

"You can maybe scratch out a zero, and add an eight, or something to increase the pills a patient was getting," says chief medical informatics officer Dr. Brandon Price.

Now, doctors like Brandon Price of St. Alexius are moving to electronic prescriptions.

"If you were to attempt a forgery or adulterate an electronic prescription, they would obviously have to have access to the database. The databases are quite secure," says Rick Detwiller.

Rick Detwiller is the director of outpatient pharmacy services at St. Alexius. He says there are extra stringent rules to fill prescriptions of controlled substances, like oxycodone or morphine.

For controlled prescriptions, it still has to be printed out on paper, but this paper is tamper-proof, so if you try to photocopy it, it turns out as invalid."

But even if you're not purposely abusing prescription medications, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that accidental overdose deaths have risen 300 percent since 1999.

Electronic prescriptions processed through the national database Sure Scripts helps doctors keep track of multiple medications, even if they're prescribed by someone else.

"Nowadays, I can prescribe a medication on the computer, and it will alert me if the patient has an allergy to that medication. Or if the patient already has a medication in that class, it will also catch that and alert the user that maybe that's not the appropriate medication to use, which is very helpful. We didn't have that in the old paper and pen days," says Dr. Price.

Price and Detwiller also say electronic prescriptions are more efficient. They're submitted to the pharmacy within five minutes, and the information is always legible.

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