Lauren Krizansky’s comprehensive piece on prescription drug abuse brings to the forefront a situation that is getting worse, not better.
What might help in tracking prescribed drug usage is a “smart card”. The idea emerged from community discussion at the Healthcare Forum hosted last April by the Community Partnerships at Adams State University. Already in use in France (“Carte Vitale”) and Germany (“Die Elektronischen Gesundheistkarte”), a plastic card the size of a credit card is embedded with an individual’s healthcare information. This card is swiped or scanned at your clinic or doctor’s office, in the hospital, and for getting prescriptions filled. A continuous record of tests, medications, and visits is stored.
The Community Partnerships at Adams State University recently submitted the idea to develop a “smart card” for chronically ill in the Valley to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation that may lead to funding for a pilot test project. For this group the card would be voluntary; convenience might out weigh confidentiality concerns. This card would speed that segment of the population through the many bottle necks in our system. Such a card could also be made a condition of “pain contracts”, providing pharmacists with a clear record of their usage.
The smart card would serve as an adjunct to help with the prescription abuse problem.
In our Valley, Freddie Jaquez and the SLV Area Health Education Center are already doing the heavy lifting by bringing together the principals who can shift the trend line of abuse: pharmacists, prescription writers, law enforcement and mental health practitioners.
Thanks for showcasing Lauren Krizansky’s in-depth treatment of prescription abuse on page one of your August 22 paper.
Tom Deegan RN