Program creates obstacles to doctor shopping

first_imgPrescribing prognosis mostly positive14.2 million prescriptions in the system.345,000 patient history requests.10,000 prescribers and pharmacists enrolled in the program.21 percent of state prescribers of controlled substances enrolled in program.23 percent of state pharmacists enrolled in program.Source: Washington State Department of HealthA new state program has created new obstacles for people “doctor shopping” for pain medications.In January 2012, the Washington State Department of Health launched a prescription monitoring program, a secure statewide database that tracks prescriptions for pain medication and other controlled substances.Since then, prescribers and pharmacists have used the database to improve patient safety and prevent people from doctor shopping to obtain numerous prescriptions to controlled substances, said Chris Baumgartner, prescription monitoring program director.And, so far, the program is receiving a thumbs-up.“The preliminary review is positive, and it looks like it has been an effective tool in patient care,” Baumgartner said.State law requires licensed pharmacies and practitioners that dispense controlled substances in the state or to Washington addresses to electronically report the prescription data. The program does not collect hospital inpatient data. The law pertains to all prescriptions of Schedule II, III, IV and V controlled substances, which includes certain tranquilizers, stimulants and pain relievers.Since launching the program, the system has recorded more than 14.2 million prescriptions and facilitated 345,000 patient history requests, Baumgartner said. More than 10,000 providers have enrolled in the program, he said.The program doesn’t track how many times the system has prevented doctor shopping, but Baumgartner said the state has heard from physicians and pharmacists who used the system to uncover potential abuse and misuse.last_img read more