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Friday, 15 March 2013 07:55

Electronic Prescribing – Gives us insight to what a patient is REALLY taking Featured

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electronic prescriptionsDrug seekers.  The term we all dread.  Each of us will create a picture in our mind of what that term means. 

Every time we have a patient requesting pain medication, we have to stop and ask ourselves “is this patient seeking pain medication to be abused or sold?” 

Not a comforting thought for dental professionals since our goal is to help people, especially those in pain.  

But what if that person is misusing prescriptions, and not simply a drug seeker with the intention to abuse it or sell it on the streets? 

When I think about prescription drug misuse, this is the picture I have that resulted from a visit in a client’s office early in the development process of eRx.  

Picture this real life event for a moment:  A sixty-something year old woman is sitting in the dental chair going over instructions with the dentist preparing to schedule surgery for an implant. 

She tells the doctor the medications she is taking.  She can’t quite remember the dosage of Prednisone that she is on, either 15 mg or 40 mg. 

But she lists various medications for medical conditions such as a blood thinner, pain medication for Arthritis, blood pressure medication, etc. 

Pretty routine.  Nothing unusual.  The surgery is scheduled and paper work is reviewed and signed.  No red flags, at this point.
 
The day before surgery, and the same day as my visit to the practice, the clinical director was preparing to electronically send the patient’s prescriptions to the pharmacy, as is routine for their office. 

She reviewed the medical history in the chart and the list of medications the patient said she was currently on. 

The clinical director opened the electronic prescribing software, eRx, and viewed the patient’s prescription history to verify the Prednisone dosage. 

At first she and I thought that there was a long history of using the same medications over a period of time, but the dates were all the same…. It was as if she was getting the same medications filled over and over again. 

The doctor was requested to look at the medication history, and it was discovered that the patient was going to three different doctors, getting the same medications filled by each one, and therefore taking triple the amount of blood thinners, triple the amount of pain medication and triple the amount of blood pressure medication.  

Needless to say, the surgery was postponed.  The doctor contacted the patient, and she admitted she was having problems with confusion and gave permission for the doctor to speak with her adult son. 

She agreed it was time to get familial assistance with her medical care and managing her medications.  

The only hint that the dental staff had that something was amiss was the patient couldn’t remember the dosage of the Prednisone she was taking, and even that isn’t unusual.  Nothing the patient presented would have raised any flag at all. 

But due to the diligence of the dental practice by following up and looking at the prescription history and subscribing to an electronic prescribing service, this woman’s health was given the attention it needed.  

This single experience has changed my opinion on the value of electronic prescribing and what it can bring to a dental practice and patients. 

Whether patients are drug seekers, or patients that don’t understand how medications interact, or patients that are just confused about what they are taking, the safety measure of using an electronic prescribing service is a right click.

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Read 1044 times Last modified on Friday, 28 April 2017 08:58

1 comment

  • Comment Link Sarah Hall Tuesday, 25 June 2013 11:29 posted by Sarah Hall

    What great information DMC Team! Thank you for providing practical articles that can truly assist our dental community.
    Respectfully,
    Sarah A.K. Hall

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