Tape measure and medicine colored in glass on white background.

How Pharmacists Use Technology to Help Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

Pharmacists play an important role in the healthcare industry. They are not only responsible for dispensing medicine to patients in strict accordance with doctor’s orders, but also for educating patients on medication usage, side effects and safety. Pharmacists must have attention to detail because the information they must consider and share is unique to each patient.

The right technology can help pharmacists manage inventory, orders, finances and customer relationships. Pharmacy management systemsenable faster prescription processing, improved customer retention and more accurate prescription filling. This accuracy is extremely important to patients’ health. An estimated 18 million people misused prescription medications at least once in the past year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, with the help of technology, pharmacists can help prevent drug abuse.

Here are three ways pharmacists are helping to prevent, identify and reduce prescription drug abuse.

Prevent Drug Abuse Through Patient Education

The best way to combat prescription drug abuse is to prevent it from happening in the first place. To do this, pharmacists educate patients during the prescription pickup process about drug interactions, such as drugs that may react negatively when taken together, as well as the proper dosage. This education is vital in order to prevent accidental prescription drug misuse, which could potentially lead to abuse.

Synchronize Patient’s Medication Pickups

By synchronizing the schedule of a patient’s prescription pickup, pharmacists can better track the frequency of when prescriptions are being dispensed. Pharmacists often schedule prescription pickups around the same time or day. The use of pharmacy management systems allows pharmacists to easily track this information using electronic record keeping. The software can alert pharmacists of unusual patterns that may signify fraud or abuse.  

Alert Local Pharmacies of Fraudulent Prescription Behavior

If fraudulent activity or abuse is suspected, pharmacists alert other pharmacies in the area. This is to reduce the likelihood of the patient filling a prescription elsewhere, and can ultimately help to save lives. Pharmacists are also trained to identify signs of prescription drug abuse and can assess adherence during their one-on-one interaction with the patient.

Pharmacists have many responsibilities within their role, and their ability to manage patient information can have a profound effect on patient and community health. Pharmacists are one of the first lines of defense against fraudulent or abusive prescription drug behavior. However, due to their many daily responsibilities, many pharmacists rely on technology to help improve accuracy, track prescription activity and alert problematic behavior.