In my post from October I wrote about how technology could help fight the opioid epidemic with a drug monitoring app/system for healthcare professionals and patients. According to NPR, “Nearly half of all Americans over the age of 12 take prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives or stimulants, according to a federal survey. And 16 percent of the time those drugs are misused by nearly 19 million Americans.”
I wanted to expand a bit further on how technology can help fight the opioid epidemic and how it currently is. In my proposed healthcare system, prescriptions would be solely e-prescriptions and monitor all scripts for one individual, ensuring that they are not abusing a larger number of painkiller prescriptions. Ideally, all healthcare facilities that prescribe medication would universally use this system to better monitor narcotic prescriptions to keep the abuse to a minimum. One of the problems is the lack of communication amongst healthcare professionals which is why a universal communication system is needed for patient prescriptions. Doctors writing the scripts need insight into whether or not a patient has an opioid issue. E-RX would be the name of the implemented system, for electronic prescription system. The target users for such a system would fall under two categories: healthcare professionals and the patients themselves. Healthcare professionals would be able to have insight into to all prescribed medications for their patients, including details such as dosage and usage instructions. E-RX would outline the usage instructions for patients as well as additional resources for pain management and how to safely take pain medication when prescribed. Both parties would benefit from the ability to communicate directly with your doctor, or other healthcare professionals through the app. The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would help implement the universal system amongst healthcare facilities with funding from the government.
The overall goal in the first year of execution would be to help write fewer opioid prescriptions overall and monitor the usage of current patients more closely. If prescribing opioids is appropriate, the doctor should offer less prescriptions for fewer days and at lower dosages. E-RX is the universal e-perscription system that has the ability to manage a patient’s medications from all prescribing doctors with helpful resources for patients who take narcotic level drugs.