June 20, 2018

Surescripts Supports Healthcare Leadership Council’s “Roadmap for Action” to Address Opioid Crisis

Today, Surescripts joined more than 70 healthcare organizations in supporting the Healthcare Leadership Council’s “Roadmap for Action” offering guidance for healthcare professionals, lawmakers and regulators to address the opioid crisis.

Surescripts has long championed greater use of health information technology to help rein in the opioid crisis, but with nearly five people dying from opioid-related overdose every hour, and the epidemic costing the nation nearly 3 percent of GDP in 2015, it’s clear that a comprehensive, industry-wide approach is needed.

The Roadmap identifies five priorities to address opioid abuse:

  • improving approaches to pain management;
  • preventing opioid misuse; 
  • expanding access to substance use disorder treatment services; 
  • increased use of care coordination through data; and
  • paying for care that is coordinated and high-quality.

In our recent paper, “Changing the Course of the Opioid Epidemic: The Power and Promise of Proven Technology,” Paul Uhrig, Surescripts Chief Administrative, Legal and Privacy Officer, outlined how technology can help address drug diversion, including the illegal use of prescription opioids, and clinical appropriateness, including effective uses of opioids for patients with legitimate needs. We’re pleased to see so many of these technologies represented in the Roadmap, in particular E-Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) and Medication History.

Over the past few years, the private sector has dramatically increased its use of e-prescribing, from 1 billion prescriptions in 2013 to 1.74 billion in 2017. Yet, despite this vast growth, we still need to overcome a significant gap in adoption and use of the tool that can help combat the epidemic.

In 2017, Surescripts delivered 77.3 million electronic prescriptions for controlled substances. This number represents just 19 percent of all controlled substance prescriptions, with just 26.2% of prescribers enabled for the technology as of May 2018.

EPCS is just one tool in our arsenal to fight opioid abuse. Robust, electronic medication history data is available nationwide across all care settings. Having an up-to-date view of a patient’s medication history at the point of prescribing empowers prescribers to make the best care decisions for their patients. In fact, Surescripts delivered more than 1.46 billion medication histories in 2017.

In addition to EPCS and electronic medication histories, a number of other clinical tools can help prescribers and clinicians provide appropriate care while navigating the opioid crisis.

These technologies are all available today. Public-private collaboration to advance smart legislation and regulations can serve as a critical catalyst for their wider adoption.

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The statistics are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the opioid epidemic now takes more lives in the U.S. than breast cancer. In addition, American life expectancy at birth declined for the second consecutive year in 2016 due to a dramatic 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses. Our nation has not experienced a two-year consecutive decline in life expectancy since the early 1960s as a result of an influenza epidemic. Even the worst mortality rate of the AIDS epidemic in 1993 caused American life expectancy to drop for just one year. Read more...

July 02, 2018

Maine Required E-Prescribing for Opioids Last Year—and the Results Are In

This time last year, Maine implemented legislation that requires electronic prescribing for opioids. At the time, Maine ranked 25th in the nation based on prescriber and pharmacist enablement and utilization of the technology, known as E-Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS). Now the state is ranked third in the nation, with virtually all its pharmacies and more than half of all its prescribers enabled for the technology as of May 2018. New York leads the nation, having implemented a legislative requirement in 2016 that requires all prescriptions to be delivered electronically, including controlled substances. Read more...

May 03, 2018

EPCS Legislation Shows Power and Promise

According to recent research from the IQVIA Institute, the number of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. fell 10.2% in 2017 compared to 2016. At the same time, lawmakers are taking aim at the opioid epidemic by ramping up legislation that mandates Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS). Read more...

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