June 7, 2012

Doctors say drug monitoring programs need overhaul

In an attempt to combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the U.S., many states have turned to prescription drug monitoring programs, but doctors are saying the programs aren’t user-friendly enough.

Prescription drug monitoring programs, or PMPs, require doctors and pharmacists to report to a state registry the names of patients receiving prescription drugs. The registries also allow physicians, pharmacists and, in some cases, law enforcement to search through an online database to see if a patient is “doctor shopping”.

This registry, however, is not easy to use, a new study by the American College of Medical Toxicology found.

According to American News Report, those who use the PMPs say the biggest hurdle is how much time it takes to use the registries. It’s a substantial time investment, especially when it must be completed multiple times a day.

Recently, a “perspective piece” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine that outlines a new plan for an ideal drug monitoring program. The recommended changes would enable doctors, dentists, pharmacists and law enforcement officials to access real-time data on patients’ prescription drug histories.

This could be done, according to the piece, by using a standardization of the type of information submitted to the databases, the use of bar-coded prescriptions to more quickly log entries and an online prescription system that eliminates paper.

Click here to read the full article on the suggested overhaul of prescription drug monitoring programs.

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/freedigitalphotos.net.

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