Jan 11

How Do I Prevent the Misuse of Prescription Pads in My Office?

In 2015, the United States experienced 33,091 deaths tied to opioid abuse alone and opioid overdoses quadrupled since 1999.

The opioid crisis continues creating a stir in the United States, and for good reason. Unfortunately, patients, staff, and even physicians who struggle with addiction sometimes take drastic measures in order to obtain these drugs. For this reason, we oblige you to keep your prescription pads secure. Avoid prescription pad abuse in your office with these tips:

Ensure security of prescription pads and RX paper

This sounds like common sense, but the importance of this needs stressed. Simply, you can’t misuse what you can’t find. Require the clinical staff in your office keep their prescription pads in their pocket while working. In addition, unrestricted access to areas in your office poses a potential threat – deter staff from leaving prescription pads on desks, countertops, or in exam rooms.

Lock your prescription paper used for printing in a secure area at all times. Store any extra prescription pads in locked drawers or cabinets at all times and all prescription pads locked up at night.

Use tamper resistant prescription pads to prevent copying

Consider the variety of security measures available when ordering tamper resistant prescription pads. These include:

  • A hidden VOID watermark appearing only when a document get copied, scanned, or faxed.
  • Fluorescent fibers in the paper of which glow under UV light and prove difficult to print on.
  • Microprinting, or characters appearing as a solid line to the naked eye, present individually under magnification. This type of printing creates difficulty when it comes to reproduction, therefore, forged prescriptions only show a solid line which results in easy fraud detection.
  • Heat sensitive markers printed with thermochromic ink changes color with applied heat.

Pharmacists receive instructions indicating what to look for to easily detect prescription fraud in regards to these security measures.

Use gel pens when writing prescriptions

Most gel pens use ink with color pigments that quickly absorb into the fibers of any paper. Due to this, washing away old prescriptions with chemical solvents proves ineffective. Using gel pens reduces the risk of patients obtaining a prescription for one medication, washing away that information, and writing in a controlled substance for the purpose of abuse or diversion.

Conduct regular inventory of prescription pads

Create a written or verbal statement regarding monitoring of prescription pad inventory within your practice. To help with inventory, use pads featuring a sequential numbering similar to that of checkbooks. As a result, this feature helps you quickly expose any potential misuse in your practice.

Utilize electronic prescribing of controlled substance (EPCS) software

Looking for an easy way of preventing prescription pad abuse? We suggest not having them available at all. Electronic prescribing of controlled substances eliminates the use of prescription pads while ensuring that the exact prescription you wrote makes it directly to the pharmacy without alteration, diversion, or the opportunity for your DEA number to be compromised.

The current opioid crisis devastates our nation’s individuals, families, and communities. Furthermore, the healthcare industry takes a hand in combating this epidemic. Securing prescription pads is vital to this effort’s success.

Ready to take the plunge? MicroMD can help. Visit our website at micromd.com/eservices/erx-controlled-substances or call us at 1-800-624-8832 for more information on getting started.

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2 Comments

  1. Darrell
    June 4, 2018 at 11:18 am · Reply

    What should prescribers and institutions do with unused temper proof pads once they gave transitioned to E-prescribing? Can they be shredded? Do they have to be returned to DOJ field office?

    Please advise.

    • Savanna Adams
      June 13, 2018 at 10:49 am · Reply

      This actually depends on the state. Some states require them to be returned back to the board of pharmacy or medical board. In general, there should be a small supply of paper prescriptions available for the providers in an emergency circumstance. That is the guidance that is given by New York, for example.

      The best place to start is by contacting the board of pharmacy for this guidance, but in general, providers who implement ePrescribing still keep a small amount of prescription blanks for emergencies.

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