Hospitals in some states, including New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming, have developed prescription painkiller tracking systems tailored to emergency rooms, NPR reports. The systems are designed to reduce prescription drug abuse.
Some people seeking painkillers repeatedly visit the ER because it has become more difficult to obtain the drugs from doctors. Every state except Missouri now has a drug monitoring database that allows doctors to look up the prescription history of patients.
At the emergency room of Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Wyoming, the hospital’s new system takes the decision about whether to prescribe painkillers to patients who may be abusing the drugs out of the hands of the doctor on duty. A hospital panel made up of doctors and administrators will meet monthly to decide whether patients flagged for unhealthy behavior should be labeled abusers.