Seeing that only half of doctors are using state programs to help stop doctor shopping is an interesting statistic. On one hand it’s disturbing that not all doctors are using it. But, if you dig a little deeper, it becomes apparent that a lot of these programs are new and haven’t had much time to be adopted yet. Going forward we would like to see the amount of doctors using these programs rise. It would be another step toward helping the national prescription drug abuse problem.
With prescription drug abuse on the rise, nearly every state has created a database that doctors and pharmacists can log in to if they want to check up on a patient who seems a little too eager for a bottle of Vicodin – but only about half of doctors are using them, according to a study published by researchers from Johns Hopkins University. These systems, called prescription drug monitoring programs, are supposed to help doctors identify “doctor shoppers” who go from office to office complaining of pain and then selling off their medication.
The team found that about 72 percent of doctors knew that their state’s program existed, but only about half, or 53 percent, reported logging in. Nearly a fourth of doctors didn’t realize that their state offered a program in the first place – which the authors say may be due to the fact that a dozen states have only just introduced programs in the past three years.