New York bill could help stem state’s drug abuse issues

In recent weeks, a number of stories have detailed the challenge that private practices and small medical facilities are facing when it comes to prescribing patients potentially beneficial drugs that also fall under the federal regulations for controlled substances. And while eprescribing has long been touted as a solution that could help better track the exchange of these drugs, New York is currently reviewing a bill that may be able to augment this tool with a wealth of medical history.

On January 11, New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced new legislation that aims to track the prescription of controlled substances via a central online database, according to a press release from the lawmaker. Formally called the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP), the bill would expand on similar proposals made by other state lawmakers to curb the issue.

"I-STOP utilizes our online technology to streamline communication between health care providers and pharmacists to better serve patients, stop prescription drug trafficking and provide treatment to those who are addicted," Schneiderman said in a press release.

The proposal has already earned acclaim from New York assemblyman Michael Cusick, Staten Island district attorney Daniel Donovan Jr. and state Senator Andrew Lanza. However, lawmakers may need to act soon to stem the problem, as New York City has recently started its own task forces that have the goal of cracking down on doctors that may be contributing to the issue.

While alarming in the Empire State, the prescription drug problem is by no means limited to New York. As a result, doctors in other parts of the country who want to ensure they're taking steps that could lead to heightened prescription oversight, medical practice management and other healthcare IT improvements that could yield patient health benefits, may want to talk to a consultant that can provide nuanced software recommendations.

Microwize Technology is a leading retailer of healthcare IT products, such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Lytec, Allscripts and McKesson.