Prescription drug abuse is one of the most pressing issues plaguing the United States, with government agencies indicating that prescription medication overdoses now account for more deaths than motor vehicle accidents.
This issue has been proliferating in the news recently in the wake of pop star Whitney Houston's death. Reports state that multiple medications were found in Houston's hotel room, a fact that if confirmed could raise medical ethics questions, particularly if her doctor was overprescribing these controlled substances. Singer Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was found guilty of overprescribing and was ultimately charged with involuntary manslaughter in late 2011.
"Many people get into a false sense of security thinking because it's prescribed by a doctor, then somehow it's safe," said Heather Olson of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Services in an article for a CBS affiliate branch serving the Quad Cities region in Illinois and Iowa.
This false sense of security is dangerous as patients can develop dependencies on drugs meant for temporary relief, driving them to more extreme solutions for procuring more. For example, Olson says patients will pretend they've lost pills or patronize multiple doctors until one puts in an order.
The singer's death highlights an important issue for medical facility managers who need to ensure patient safety by monitoring exactly how often physicians are making prescription orders. In order to do so effectively, facility managers should consider deploying the services of a medical technology consulting firm that can help implement and train staff on a suite like Allscripts MyWay that contains eprescribing tools in addition to electronic medical records and billing software.
This way, a facility manager can identify whether a patient has been consuming a dangerous amount of prescription drugs and seamlessly refer to other practice's records to be sure a patient isn't approaching other physicians for prescription refills.
Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.