The Dentist’s Role in Preventing Opioid Abuse

Reprinted from the XLDent.com blog

It’s no secret that opioid abuse is soaring in America. In fact, a recent NBC Nightly News report put dentists back in the hot seat. If you haven’t seen, “Hooked: How Opioid Abuse Starts at the Dentist for Many Americans,” watch it at http://tinyurl.com/opioid0816. This report identifies dentists as the gateway to addiction for young people who lack prior experience with opioid prescriptions. Just a few months earlier, the JAMA Network (http://tinyurl.com/jama-opioids) identified that tooth extractions “may represent an important area of excessive opioid prescribing in the United States.” With this significant amount of attention directed towards dentists, let’s look at a few of the ways providers can make a difference using e-prescribing technology.

Patient Safety
E-prescribing technology gives the prescriber tools to make safer prescription choices for patients. With e-prescribing, a list of all previously prescribed medications is available in a patient’s electronic chart. As dentists are often limited to knowing only what they have prescribed or what is self-reported, this information is critical to choosing the right prescription for your patient. Drug interaction warnings will appear automatically and include details about the interaction and how to advise patients.

Patient Education
Providers bear the responsibility to educate their patients about their prescriptions. E-prescribing makes it simple to access drug information and review it with your patient. For example, XLDent’s Electronic Prescribing embeds Lexicomp’s Online for Dentistry product for dental specific resources. Take it a step further and provide your patients with drug disposal information for unused medications.

Protect Prescriber Integrity
Dentists who handwrite or print prescriptions put themselves at risk. When the patient has the prescription in his or her hand, the provider loses control of what happens between the dental practice and the pharmacy. This problem is nonexistent with the use of electronic prescriptions. The possibility of patient intervention is completely removed.
In addition to these three ways e-prescribing can impact your practice, doctors are recognizing increased efficiency and patient convenience. With more states looking to legislation to combat opioid abuse, those using e-prescribing technology are demonstrating a commitment to curb the problem.

Visit the XLDent website at http://www.xldent.com/esolutions/patient-services/electronic-prescribing for more information about XLDent’s e-prescribing technology*.

*XLDent’s e-Prescription service works with all Dental Practice Management systems. XLDent Practice Management Software is not required.

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