CASE STUDY: Luminis Health - Doctors Community Medical Center

Like many healthcare providers, Doctors Community Medical Center (DCMC) relies on prescription pads to ensure their patients receive the proper care and medication during their stay and after being discharged. However, increased costs and significant security risks to the hospital are present when using prescription pads.

At DCMC, Web Support Specialist Keith Mitchell recognized the risk for fraud, theft, and loss created by the use of prescription pads. Keeping the pads se-cure was a key concern, especially in the ER, and there wasn’t an efficient way to keep track of them. Prescription pads have been found on desks and counters, peeking out of a doctor’s lab coat hanging off the back of a chair, and sometimes left behind in a patient’s room. An unauthorized person could too easily walk off with a prescription pad without the hospital realizing it.

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Prescriptions written on pads cause other issues as well. Sometimes handwritten prescriptions are illegible due to doctors’ less-than-perfect handwriting. Plus, fraudsters can easily alter a prescription to have seven or nine refills instead of just one. Illegible prescriptions can lead to fatal consequences — a July 2006 report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that as many as 7,000 people die every year due to hard-to-read prescriptions. Prescription pads have the hospital’s information at the top, so any time these pads are stolen or used fraudulently, an investigation is going to lead directly back to the hospital. This makes the institution liable for fines, legal judgments, suspension/revocation of licenses, increased insurance costs, and a tarnished reputation.

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