Allina Adds Extra Security For Controlled Substance Prescriptions

October 27, 2017 06:47 PM

Allina Health is among the first healthcare providers in the Twin Cities to meet federal requirements for having two layers of security for practitioners sending electronic prescriptions for controlled substances to pharmacies.

"We're making sure the prescriptions go there without any potential for forgeries of those prescriptions," Lee Mork said, who is one of Allina Health's pharmacy directors. "It goes so far as to your codeine cough syrup, a valium prescription or attention deficit medications like Adderall, for example."


Doctors and nurses have unique passwords they memorize to log into Allina's electronic medical records system. But, in order to send electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, they now also have to enter another constantly changing number from a small device they carry with them called a token.

"Then it pops up with the need for the RSA token which is the random number generating system," Mork said.

Allina uses the tokens, but some other hospitals and clinics are choosing to install biometric technology, which will allow prescribers to authorize controlled substance prescriptions by scanning their thumbprints.

In addition to the new federal requirements for controlled substances, the state of Minnesota is also looking to crack down on opioids.  Here's your chance to let lawmakers know how you'd like them to address the problem on the state level. 

The new procedure has been in place at Allina for about a year and is under a new light as President Trump recently spoke about the nation's opioid crisis.

Mork says 71 percent of controlled substance prescriptions are now transmitted electronically to pharmacies. He says sending them electronically virtually eliminates the opportunity for forgery that exists with paper prescriptions. Paper prescriptions are still allowed and patients can request them.

Mork also says the health system is becoming more deliberate about the number of medications prescribed, including fewer pills per prescription.

"We know after the sixth prescription dose there's potential for ongoing use," he said.


Matt Belanger

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