Can Digital Health End the Opioid Addiction Crisis?

An article posted at Fortune seems to think so:

There is a health tech tool that has the potential to staunch the scourge of opioid addiction and overdoses in The Usa. The trouble is, it isn’t being used by doctors.

Gawande argues that widespread adoption of electronic prescriptions—as opposed to the old-school, hand-written variety still used by so many medical suppliers —for certain painkillers could make a serious dent in opioid abuse and go a long toward protecting Americans who might fall prey to addictive drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin.

Just how could a system of prescriptions that are digital work toward that end? For several motives, as Gawande clarifies. This system of prescribing could “prevent duplicate and forged prescriptions by using 2-factor authentication; reduce dosing errors; cross reference prescription monitoring program databases; and simplify the prescription procedure for doctors and patients.” Moreover, “electronic prescribing would allow it to be much easier for surgeons to write smaller prescriptions that match the needs of 80% of patients, or even 50%, understanding they could remotely purchase an additional supply if a patient wanted it.”

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