New Approaches to Opioid Abuse Zero in on Physicians

New Approaches to Opioid Abuse Zero in on Physicians

As researchers and legislators in some states consider restrictions on physicians to write prescriptions for opioid pain medications, new research indicates there could be a way to continue prescribing safely—albeit a way that is likely to raise some eyebrows. First, in Indiana, the state hospital association, medical association, and health department have pooled their resources to create guidelines for physicians in the state. In a nutshell, they’re advising physicians to cut back on prescribing opioids …

Read More
Data Quantify Value of Physician Ed in Reducing Antibiotic Prescriptions

Data Quantify Value of Physician Ed in Reducing Antibiotic Prescriptions

Kaiser Permanente in Southern California reports that using computer alerts to inform physicians when antibiotics may not be the best course of treatment for sinusitis reduced the chance of an antibiotic being prescribed—with some qualifiers. The study, published recently in the American Journal of Managed Care, tracked nearly 22,000 cases of acute sinusitis in adults in primary care and urgent care offices. Researchers found that clinical decision support was associated with a 22% decrease in …

Read More
FDA Appeals Directly to Physicians on Curbing Access to Opioids

FDA Appeals Directly to Physicians on Curbing Access to Opioids

The FDA may have limited authority to reduce the number of opioid medications in circulation at any given time, but its commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, MD, is appealing to urgent care physicians, and prescribers everywhere, to take action. For starters, he said, the agency would like to construct “expert guidelines” informed by the medical community, with the idea that those guidelines could ultimately be reflected in drug labeling (over with the FDA does have authority). Speaking …

Read More
Intermountain Quantifies Goal to Cut Opioid Prescriptions

Intermountain Quantifies Goal to Cut Opioid Prescriptions

The need to reduce access to opioid pain medications is pretty well accepted at this point, though much of the outcry is vague and often geared toward echoing statistics about the very real epidemic of addiction and death. However, Intermountain Health, which operates InstaCare urgent care centers in Utah and Idaho, has gone a step further by crunching its own numbers and devising a plan to cut opioid prescriptions across its systems by 40% by …

Read More
There Are Still Too Many Prescriptions for Low Back Pain

There Are Still Too Many Prescriptions for Low Back Pain

It’s been more than a year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that opioids not be used to treat chronic back pain. Unfortunately, too many prescribers have yet to get the message, according to new data from an NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll. The data, reflecting the experiences of 3,002 patients participating in a telephone survey, show that 40% of the visits to a doctor for low back pain ended with a …

Read More
Consider Options Beyond Opioids for Young Athletes

Consider Options Beyond Opioids for Young Athletes

With the opioid addiction crisis hanging over their heads, physicians are constantly weighing the risk vs benefit of prescribing narcotics for patients in extreme pain. This can be especially tough when treating younger patients who’ve sustained an injury, such as those increasingly common in youth sports. Many physicians who specialize in sports medicine have started using a multimodal approach that employs counseling, physical therapy, and even nerve blocks. Some states have launched efforts (and even …

Read More
‘Out of State’ Doesn’t Mean You’re Out of Range for Telehealth Patients in Alaska

‘Out of State’ Doesn’t Mean You’re Out of Range for Telehealth Patients in Alaska

Alaska is the latest of many states marching toward adoption of new telehealth bills, but legislators there has been typically “maverick” in their approach to adopting such new technologies. The interesting thing about that state’s soon-to-be signed law is that physicians won’t have to be in-state in order to prescribe for Alaskans. In addition to removing in-state presence requirements for prescribing via telemedicine, SB 74 will pave the way for patients to connect with occupational …

Read More
In New York, No More ‘Writing’ Prescriptions

In New York, No More ‘Writing’ Prescriptions

Use a prescription pad in New York, go to jail—potentially, anyway, as the state becomes only the second state to require electronic prescribing and the first to establish penalties, which include fines, loss of license, and even jail time, for noncompliance. Paper and telephone prescriptions will be exempted for emergency situations, however. Proponents reason that e-prescribing is a big step toward eliminating prescribing errors and long wait times at the pharmacy, and that it reduces …

Read More
West Virginia Moving Toward Prescribing Authority for APRNs

West Virginia Moving Toward Prescribing Authority for APRNs

The West Virginia House of Delegates has approved a bill that would give advanced practice registered nurses more authority to treat patients and prescribe medications without a physician’s supervision. If the state senate also passes the “Nurse Practitioners Bill,” West Virginia will become the 22nd state allowing nurse practitioners to do so. The senate has already proposed two amendments to the version passed by the house; one would establish an advisory board to put forth …

Read More

Projected Volume of Prescriptions

Data from the 2014 Urgent Care Chart Survey of 1,778,075 blinded visits by patients to more than 800 different urgent care clinics, conducted by the Journal of Urgent Care Medicine, reveal that for 2014, the top three medication classes by volume projected to be prescribed at U.S. urgent care centers were, in descending order: Oral antibiotics, 72.9 million Corticosteroids, 20.5 million Narcotic analgesics, 14.9 million The survey’s methodology and data abstraction forms were initially designed …

Read More