A company that provided electronic patient records made a secret deal with the opioid prescribers to recommend opioid prescriptions to doctors.
Your medical record is just between you and your doctor, right? Not necessarily. According to an investigation by Bloomberg News, your doctor is allowed to share information with pharmaceutical companies and others involved with your treatment. For a software maker called Practice Fusion, this was a goldmine to be exploited and push unneeded treatments on patients with pain.
Millions of Prescriptions Possibly Created
The software was used by tens of thousands of doctors’offices and was designed specifically by the request of an opioid manufacturer. Doctors used the software to get treatment plan recommendations and an alert would pop up every time a person’s medical file met certain pain criteria. The software could then prescribe a “treatment plan” including opioids for months on end.
Practice Fusion set a loose algorithm to recommend opioids to certain patients experiencing both short-term and chronic pain. It total, the software sent an alert to doctors, recommending opioids about 230 million times.
The Cost of Overprescribing Opioids
According to the Centers for Disease Control, statistics from 2017 16% of U.S. counties have drug prescribing habits for opioid prescriptions that were enough for every person in the county to have one. Prescription they were involved in more than 35% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2017. There were 74,000 opioid deaths that year.
Research has shown that many people are exposed to opioids either through an ER visit or a dental procedure at a young age.
Practice Fusion Pleaded Guilty to Prescriptions Scheme
The software partnership Practice Fusion had with an opioid maker came to light during both criminal and civil cases. The opioid manufacturer was not publicly named in the court paperwork, although Bloomberg pointed out that there is a public research partnership between Practice Fusion and Purdue Pharma Inc., which makes OxyContin.
Practice Fusion will now pay $145 million to resolve the recent civil and criminal cases.
They were recently bought by a healthcare software company, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions. Allscripts put out a statement that they have “further strengthened” compliance at Practice Fusion.