White House efforts to curtail opioid prescriptions as opioid-related deaths continue to increase have left some physicians opting out of prescribing them all together – a development that has left many chronic pain patients in dire straits, according to a Politico survey. Physicians responding to the survey report feeling pressured to reduce such prescriptions in light of consequences that could include losing their licenses or going to jail for poor prescription decisions. Their fears aren’t groundless, given that the DoJ has charged 200 physicians for opioid-related crimes since January 2017. Urgent care clinic physician Sue Lewis, MD now adamantly refuses to prescribe opioids for fear of losing her license: “I will no longer treat chronic pain. Period,” she says. “There is too much risk involved.”
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD released a statement earlier today outlining the agency’s numerous efforts to tamp down opioid prescriptions, including developing evidence-based prescribing guidelines and hosting an innovation challenge to encourage the development of apps and medical devices that could potentially be used as alternatives to opioids. The impact of that remains to be seen.
Gottlieb admitted that, “I’ve learned some hard lessons. And one sticks with me above others. It’s this. The reason that we find ourselves with a crisis of such proportion is that as a medical profession, we’ve been one step behind its sinister advance. Collectively, we didn’t take all the steps we could, when we could, to stop the advance of this crisis. We shunned hard decisions. As a profession, providers were too liberal in our use of these drugs well past the point where there were signs of trouble, and the beginning of a crisis of addiction. [T]oday, I outlined just some of the overall steps we’re taking to address the crisis of addiction to opioids. We have many other actions underway. This is an all-of-the-above approach. Everything is on the table.”
Announcements and Implementations
Compulink adds several AI-powered features to its specialty-focused EHR and practice management software, including automated billing, greater transparency into patient flow, and automated patient messaging.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s CancerLinq subsidiary will work with EHR vendor Integra Connect to help oncology practices access the CancerLinq data-sharing platform. They’ll also co-develop analytics and dashboards. Integra Connect’s EHR is the first to be certified under CancerLinq’s new certification program.
Radiology Associates of Macon (GA) signs a multi-year RCM services renewal agreement with Zotec Partners.
To help physicians better monitor patient satisfaction scores, Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes adds a Net Promoter Score Dashboard to its Outcomes Management System. The new patient retention tool can alert physicians in real time when patients leave negative reviews.
Government and Politics
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD recounts his love for bow ties on National Bow Tie Day. I wonder if @FarzadsBowtie is celebrating?
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More news: HIStalk.