Ohio Goes High-Tech to Fight Painkiller Abuse

Southern Ohio is taking a serious lead in fighting painkiller abuse as local health officials adopt biometric tools similar to those used by the military.

Fingerprint scanningThe one-year pilot program will be performed at several pharmacies and Holzer Health System, a health-care provider with two hospitals in southern Ohio. Patients will be required to submit to a finger print scan to see a doctor at one hospital system. Although the initiative is voluntary, officials have high hopes it will help curb the increasing prescription drug abuse in the region.  So far, the program has already generated more than 100 members.

CrossChx LLC  will be providing the fingerprint devices and data-analytics muscle that will be used for the pilot program. CrossChx is founded by Sean Lane, a 31-year old who was deployed five times to Afghanistan and Iraq from 2003 to 2008. He believes biometrics could help southern Ohio win its battle against painkiller abuse.

“We kind of want to surge, like we did in Iraq, against this problem,” Lane tells the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog. “In Ohio, we’re dealing with data silos, where people have data and they’re not sharing it. These are the same sharing issues we fought through in Iraq,” he says.

The real-time data upload to a patient’s electronic medical record. The patients’ information which include number of doctor’s office visits, trips to the pharmacy, and prescribed medications will all prove crucial for helping health officials and law enforcement target diversion of drugs into the illegal market. Additionally, the fingerprint biometrics could make it easier for officials to identify questionable doctors or suspect pharmacists.

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