New digital tool launches to fight US opioid crisis
RPhAlly, a digital healthcare platform for pharmacists in the US, has launched a new tool designed to help combat the opioid epidemic.
The Prescriber Review is a new feature of the existing RPhAlly app, where pharmacists can provide their professional opinion of the clinician who is prescribing in the form of a four-star review. When pharmacists receive prescriptions issued by providers unknown to them, they can use the tool to see how their colleagues feel about the particular provider.
Rates of deaths caused by overdose are high in the US. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that between 1999 and 2018, over 750,000 people died from a drug overdose. In 2018 alone there were 70,000 deaths caused by drug overdoses - the leading cause of injury-related death across the country. Two out of three overdose deaths involved an opioid-like prescription, heroin, or synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Pharmacists essentially act as gatekeepers for dispensing controlled substances. They are ultimately responsible for ensuring the prescription is legitimately prescribed for a valid medical reason in the usual course of the provider’s professional practice.
However many pharmacists dispense controlled substance prescriptions without knowing the prescriber or their prescribing habits. The Prescriber Review allows pharmacists to work together to better understand their colleagues’ professional opinions of providers they don't know, and to protect their licenses.
Shawn Bjorndal, founder of RPhAlly, commented: “We created this tool so that pharmacists could have an additional data point to serve their patients better, and make more informed decisions when dispensing a controlled substance.”
The RPhAlly app launched in 2020, with the aim of allowing pharmacists to connect with each other, and share learnings and information with other pharmacists. It's free of charge, and includes a live feed, a pharmacy specific news feed, pharmacist groups, a directory, and forums. Members can also listen to the Pharmacy Podcast Network from within the platform. The app is available on Apple and Google Play stores.