Drug diversion and monitoring solutions

For a healthcare organization, monitoring access is critical, but that monitoring extends beyond just EMR data — to drug diversion. Drug diversion refers to the illegal distribution of prescription drugs, specifically referring to illegal distribution or abuse by medical professionals. According to the U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), the estimated cost of diversion to public and private medical insurers is more than $72 billion per year. In 2020 alone, the average fine for drug diversion was $585,000, and 70% of all drug diversion incidents involved doctors or nurses. It’s a growing, costly issue for healthcare organizations, and one that can be hard to contain efficiently or comprehensively. But, drug diversion monitoring software programs (and a little artificial intelligence) are changing that.

What is drug diversion monitoring?

Drug Diversion Monitoring is any solution, or program, that utilizes data to identify individuals who should be investigated for potential drug diversion. This kind of monitoring is crucial, and can not only save an organization money but, potentially, lives. However, there are hurdles healthcare organizations face when trying to effectively monitor drug diversion:

  • Being able to quickly react when potential investigations occur
  • Correlating data from multiple sources including, EHR, pharmacies, and HR systems
  • Manually tracking and auditing analytics on pharmacy transactions to detect any instances of diversion
  • Catching instances early enough to prevent both monetary damage and loss of life

All of these issues are compounded by the growing rate of drug diversion.  About 10% to 15% percent of healthcare professionals will misuse substances during their lifetime, and rates of prescription drug abuse and addiction are five times higher among physicians than in the general population. While this issue may be growing, healthcare organizations, unfortunately, have been reluctant to put in place preventative measures. According to a Porter Research report, in 2017 only 61% of those surveyed had a detection program in place. In 2019, that number actually dropped to 59%.  Where there's a problem, there’s a solution, and it comes in the form of drug diversion monitoring solutions that can offer peace of mind while providing operational efficiency to help healthcare organizations mitigate narcotic diversion. 

Drug diversion monitoring solutions

The key, like with many aspects of security, is to be proactive, not reactive. Patient Privacy Monitoring software, like Privacy Monitor or FairWarning offers drug diversion solutions to detect and prevent fraud or abuse.  These kinds of solutions work with pill dispensers and pharmacies in a medical setting, and similar to how patient privacy monitoring software monitors who is accessing what, these drug diversion solutions monitor who is accessing what medication and when and why. That combination of auditing, along with (in many cases) machine learning technology that detects unusual patterns, can not only keep an organization compliant, but allows them to detect suspicious behavior before it becomes a problem.  By investing in drug diversion monitoring technology, a healthcare organization is investing in their time, their resources, and their patients and staff, all while creating efficiency and ease.