With my earlier rant about how hard it is to read doctors’ handwriting, you would think that everyone would just jump on the ePrescribing band-wagon and fix this problem. I’ve ranted before about the horrors of ePrescribing and choosing the wrong medication, now heres something else that isn’t really thought-out pretty well.
Thats right, that nice little fax you get from the doctors office using their spiffy new ePrescribing software. How can we be sure that its a real or a phony? To forge a hard-written Rx, you need to steal a pad, write your drug, write the sig in pharmacy shorthand that wont send off any red-flags, wipe your butt on the signature line (to get a realistic looking signature), and hope the pharmacist is too busy to realize a glaring error you made.
To forge a fax over Rx, you need to obtain the computer generated paper copy (which most doctors office will give you to), scan it, and just use photoshop or some other program to fill in whatever your heart wishes, then just fax it over. Nobody is going to be looking for an ePrescribing phony, so it shouldn’t send off any red flags. There is no “signature” only something stupid like:
James D Doofman MD
Signed via secure terminal
Thanks mr “Signed via secure terminal”, that really makes me feel like it makes this legit. Other have a little digital signature that looks like an inkjet printer threw up in a little text box. As if that’s going to stop people from using a xerox machine and some tape. “Secure Signature” thwarted.
ePrescribing has taken one huge factor that makes forgery difficult. The human handwriting factor. All of us ‘know’ a doctors handwriting or writing habits. The out of town or new doctors that we don’t recognize we call on. ePrescribing takes care of that. There is no human element to Rx’s now days. Everything is generated by a computer, the same type of computer that you are reading this entry on. The same computer that can be infected by viruses, taken over by hackers, and is 100% reliant on the person sitting in front of it to not click on the wrong space or hit the wrong button.
I could just as easily now take one of the 1000 rx’s that I receive on a daily basis for narcotics via ePrescribing, use a copy machine, Microsoft word, and some tape, and send out forgeries that nobody would give a second thought to. In fact, I would be really surprised if someone hadn’t made a web page that will allow you to fill in your name, address, pharmacy name/fax, and what drug you want (via easy click menu!) and have it auto-fax it to the pharmacy of your choice. I’m sure it would be very trivial to make, and pharmacists wouldn’t even suspect it to be a phony (maybe a mistake by the doctor, but not a phony).
So whats the solution? Easy, doctors need to know your pharmacist and pharmacists need to know your doctor. If you deal with one doctor on a frequent basis, invite him/her out to dinner or drinks after work. This applies to doctors to. You deal with the same pharmacy day in and day out? Go out for a beer or cocktail after work with them. Don’t give me this whole “I’m too busy” bullshit. All it takes is for that pharmacist to save your ass from one DEA investigation (because your dipshit office staff infected your office network with a virus, and every computer-literate crackhead now has full ePrescribing powers right under your nose) to make a few drinks a month/year completely worth your time.
I love how we toss out a system of Rx writing that has been working perfectly fine for hundreds of years to a system that has been out for 5 that our licenses and practice rely on. Way to go.
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