Improving Patient Care

According to the DEA, it is now legal to deliver medications for controlled substances digitally.  By following DEA requirements for EPCS, physicians have the option to digitally sign and deliver electronic prescriptions for controlled substances to certified drug stores.  While some suppliers still may not be fully aware of this new ability, others are enjoying the advantages. The obvious advantages associated with EPCS adopting include enhancing work-flow, creating complete EHRs, removing the prospective for stolen or changed prescription blanks, decreasing drugstore callbacks on illegibility, avoiding “pharmacy shopping,” and increasing overall individual safety and patient care. These factors, along with the problem of fighting the prescribed drug addiction plague in the United States, will likely be the power in extensive EPCS adoption.  While these features will take center stage, it’s important not to ignore the impact that this new form of controlled substance prescribing will have on patient care.

patient_care_and_prescriptionMany physicians and pharmacy technician already understand the severity of this new prescription ability in enhancing individual well-being.  At a time when Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and patient quality reporting dominate medical care headlines, there is no question that the move towards a patient-centered medical care model is in full swing.

In states where EPCS for Schedule II medicines is legal, experts who are dedicated to psychiatry, pain management, or emergency medicine will likely develop a unique admiration for this new technology. When one views the regularity with which pain management physicians and psychiatrists recommend Schedule II medicines, the amount is impressive.  Medications like Adderall, Oxycontin, Ritalin, and Morphine receive a lot of negative press because of their potential for misuse and diversion, but what many don’t realize is that there is a very large market with genuine medical need that require these medicines to go about everyday living. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) requires, with very limited exemption, that Schedule II medications be written on original prescription forms from the specialist.  These medications must be sent to the drugstore, are not refillable and may not be called in or faxed.  While significantly decreasing the possibility for disruption, these conditions make significant difficulties for sufferers who regularly fill these medications.

Home Patient Care

To corrupt an old quotation, there is nothing like a new transaction program to focus the mind of a medical center manager. The U.S. medical care program is seeing a surge of distribution program analysis, motivated by numerous transaction projects such as CMS’s medical center readmissions reduction program (established through the Affordable Care Act).   New patient care designs, such as the Presbyterian Healthcare Service’s “Hospital at Home” in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Mercy Health “Care Transitions Program” in Cincinnati, Ohio are moving patient care out of the constraints of hospitals and medical centers and placing them to the individual’s houses. There, individual knowledge and care synchronization may be more effective, thus avoiding additional expensive medical center bills.

home_patient_carePreliminary data recommend that these programs work. Yet the record of the U.S. medical care program informs us that these interesting projects can crumple to perverse actions.  The execution of inpatient potential transaction in 1983 triggered the home medical market. However, along with improved patient care in houses came issues about sky-rocketing costs, excessive use, unsuitable use, and scams.

To find the ‘special sauce’ that will truly move our wellness care program from one targeted on dealing with illness to one targeted on health, we need to carefully assess these interesting new projects, in particular, looking at their impact on the greatest endpoint, population health.  The problem of paying for health rather than illness has been a traditional situation. As George Bernard Shaw mentioned in 1906, “That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity.” If GBS were in existence today he might be very carefully buoyed up by the current initiatives to deal with this centuries old situation.

NLN and Nursing Education

Two recent NLN documents address the NLN’s commitment to improving the science of nursing education and nursing education research while maintaining a focus on patient-centered care and safe medical practice. “For three decades, the NLN has devoted programming and resources to develop a powerful community of nurse educator scholars that complement the growth and improvement of programs that prepare clinical nurse researchers,” said NLN president Judith Halstead, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF. “We are proud of that legacy. The new ‘NLN Vision: Transforming Research in Nursing Education’ and ‘Priorities for Research in Nursing Education’ develop on our mission to promote quality in medical knowledge to develop a powerful and diverse workforce to relocate the nation’s health.”

nlnAs stated in the NLN Vision: “The new times for medical and wellness care engendered by wellness care change require partnerships, collaboration, and systems integration. The NLN’s ‘Priorities for Research in Nursing Education’ call for building linkages between practice and education; improving the science of nursing education through the growth of more rigorous and robust analysis designs and evaluation protocols; determining and developing effective emerging technologies to transform pedagogical approaches; and creating leadership possibilities for faculty and nursing education research scholars.”

“The research main concerns were developed in consultation with nursing management in practice and education who came together at the behest of the NLN to develop an experienced strategy for guiding research projects in the years ahead,” added NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN. “With the help of colleagues, the NLN continues to define and improve the research necessary to relocate quality in nursing education.” Dedicated to quality in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nursing faculty and management in nursing education. The NLN offers faculty growth, networking possibilities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy projects to its 37,000 individual and more than 1,200 institutional members who represent nursing teaching programs across the variety of higher education.