New requirement for doctors takes effect

Posted at: 08/27/2013 3:52 AM
Updated at: 08/27/2013 5:18 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

A new record system of prescriptions went online Tuesday. The system is meant to cut back on the abuse of prescription pain pills, but it could mean you'll be spending less time in the exam room, next time you're at the doctor.

I-STOP is an online system that allows doctors to keep track, in real time, when an addictive medication is prescribed to a patient. The goal is to cut back on abuse and lower the risk for overdoses.

While doctors say this will be a great tool, they say the process of entering the medications is what has them concerned. They fear it could mean your doctor will have less time to spend with you. Doctors say monitoring prescription pills that are highly addictive and often abused , like Vicodin and Ritalin, is a top priority.  In 2012, for the first time ever, the number of people who died from prescription pill overdose was more than the number of people who died in car accidents.

As of Tuesday, doctors in New York State are required to record the prescriptions they write for opioid pills. They also must cross check the database before writing a script to make sure there is no history of abuse. This means if you were to go to the doctor with extreme pain and needed Vicodin, before you can get it, a doctor has to check you name and date of birth with I-STOP to make sure there are no red flags. Doctors say, while this is a great idea, they say it is just one more thing that takes time away from them seeing patients.

Dr. James Fetten, Monroe County Medical Society President, said, “This primarily is going to effect primary care physicians, who prescribe most of these medications, these controlled substances. Primary care physicians are inundated to begin with. They have a lot of obstacles in their day and things that are require of them to do administrative work seem to be encroaching on more and more of their day. And just to see patients is becoming more and more of a hassle and this is another restriction that is going to be effecting their day.”

As of Tuesday, pharmacists can log on to I-STOP if they suspect someone abusing the medication they have come to the counter for, but they are not required to record what prescriptions they fill.