Surescripts supports the federal declaration of the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency. This action will provide additional resources and increased urgency to assist in our collective response to the crisis. The opioid epidemic has killed thousands of Americans, and costs our nation billions of dollars in unnecessary health and social costs each year. As the nation’s health information network, we exist to increase patient safety, lower costs and ensure quality care. We have been focused on addressing the opioid epidemic for many years. And we remain committed to our work in collaboration with the federal government as well as state and local officials, and our network partners, who are on the ground dealing with this epidemic in communities across the country.
The good news is that technology exists today to help providers make the best-informed care decisions for patients who may be at risk of abuse or overdose. Whether that’s with electronic prescribing of controlled substances to eliminate paper prescriptions that can be stolen or forged, access to a patient’s prescription history to identify potential overuse or abuse, and sharing of care location information that can help identify potential “doctor shopping.” While we’ve seen substantial progress in some areas, with more than 45 million controlled substance prescriptions delivered electronically last year, more work is needed to drive adoption and utilization of these technologies nationwide. In New York, where electronic prescribing of controlled substances is mandated, nearly all prescriptions are delivered electronically. But nationwide, that number stands at just 14 percent. Another ten states are implementing or considering laws to help drive greater adoption and utilization of electronic prescribing of controlled substances, and we support the adoption of the federal EPCS Act into law in order to drive the same level of progress nationally.