February 23, 2010

Tom Sullivan, M.D.

Florida Providers Beware of Doctor Shoppers!!

“Anti-drug [abuse] advocates say Florida has become a magnet for pill buyers in part because it is the largest state in the nation without a prescription-monitoring program.”*
Over time, some clinical providers may note a rapid increase in the amount of a certain medications needed by a patient- which may indicate the development of a form of tolerance – or frequent requests for refills before the quantity prescribed should have been used. Some unethical patients and certain “Doctor Shoppers” have grown wise to that fact, so many have begun to seek analgesics and other selected drugs from multiple physicians. Narcotics and other controlled substances are a special case because this involves the DEA as well as each state pharmacy board. In any case, preventing or stopping prescription drug abuse by e-prescribing and providing access to a patient’s prescription history limits this illegal practice. The accountability, security and transparency that a modern, sophisticated electronic prescribing system incorporates will provide the potential to curb this issue on a state-wide level. This benefit is even more valuable to physicians who practice near state borders and care for out of state patients, since the medication history data is supplied in collaboration with national organizations using widely accepted standards to protect privacy and enhance security.
In addition, physicians in Florida are in a unique situation to reap every benefit that electronic prescribing has to offer. Florida’s high concentration of Medicare patients allows physicians to get the most out of the final year of the 2% MIPPA incentive for e-prescribing funded by the federal government two years ago. Finally, e-prescribing that includes rapid and easy access to medication history in offices and clinical settings can also help eliminate potentially deadly adverse drug events among Florida’s very large elderly population.
“Floridians deserve to realize the safety, quality and cost-savings benefits of e-prescribing for all their medications,” said Andrew Benard of the Florida Office of Drug Control.
DrFirst is a registered and approved member of ePrescribe Florida.

About Tom Sullivan, M.D.

Thomas E. Sullivan, M.D is a board-certified specialist in cardiology and internal medicine with over 40 years of clinical practice. He currently works for DrFirst and sees patients part-time in Massachusetts. His expertise in the application of information technology to health care has helped to create an international standard (ASTM) for the exchange of medical record information called the Continuity of Care Record (CCR). With AMA, he was founding chair of their e-Medicine Advisory Committee, worked with the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, represented the AMA and helped create the Physician EHR Coalition and is past chair of the AMA Council on Medical Service.