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NEWS | Technology ITUpdate » The Agency for Healthcare Research Consultants consider drug and Quality released a tool to help nursing homes assess safety, track changes in resi- dent safety and evaluate the effectiveness of safety interventions. The survey and other rule a bitter pill to swallow toolkit materials are available at http:// BY JOHN O’CONNOR among practitioners, she added. www.ahrq.gov/qual/hospculture. Several provider organizations So far, most providers have have panned a pending rule not adopted e-prescribing tech- » The Department of Health and Human intended to place more restric- nology. One reason: Operators Photo: iStockphoto Services still does not have a system that tions on e-prescriptions for con- are reluctant to switch back and addresses privacy-protection issues, accord- trolled substances. The Drug forth between e-prescribing for ing to a report from the Government Enforcement Agency revealed some drugs and paper prescrib- Accountability Office. The department imple- the long-awaited measure in late ing for controlled substances. mented several measures to address these September. A proposed e-prescribing rule for con- The American Hospital As- concerns following the release of a January One group against the propos- trolled substances is ill-suited to the sociation also has complained 2007 GAO report on the lack of privacy safe- al is the American Society of realities of long-term care, according about the rule, arguing that guards in electronic health records. HHS fully Consultant Pharmacists. The to critics. legal-liability fallout could pre- implemented a GAO recommendation to ASCP says the proposed rule is vent providers from adopting “identif[y] milestones and the entity responsi- not compatible with existing “We are disappointed, but the new system. ble for integrating the outcomes of its privacy- pharmacy workflows and prac- ready to roll up our sleeves and The DEA controls more than related initiatives,” but it fell short on imple- tices and imposes considerable work with DEA, CMS and other 300 medications, about 12% of menting two other recommendations, new burdens and costs on phar- stakeholders to craft a workable all drugs that are prescribed. according to a report. macies and prescribers. rule,” said Claudia Schlosberg, They include narcotics, stimu- Moreover, the proposed rule ASCP’s director of policy and lants, depressants and steroids. fails to consider the unique pre- advocacy. Without the ability to The Pharmaceutical Care » The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid scribing process that takes place prescribe and dispense con- Management Association was Services has begun publishing most of the in long-term care, hospice, trolled substances using an e- similarly critical. “edits” that its claims processing software home care and other non-hospi- prescription system that is fully “It would create unnecessary uses to detect Medicare Part B billing errors. tal care settings—where the pre- integrated into the workflow of burdens and workflow issues for scriber and the patient may not the healthcare setting, it
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