What is I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing)?

What is I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing)?

There were 70,237 people who died in the United States from an opioid overdose in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was up 9.6% percent from 2016. It’s a scene that plays out over and over every day in America. Prescription drug abuse knows no limits, does not discriminate, and there is no doubt drug-related deaths are a significant issue in the U.S.

What is the I-STOP Act?

In 2012, the state of New York passed legislation, I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing), to make substantial changes to the way prescription drugs are prescribed and monitored in the state to help combat the growing issue.

The law requires that:

  • The Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) be consulted prior to issuing any prescription or controlled substance in New York State.
  • All substances, including controlled substances, be e-prescribed effective March 27, 2016
  • Changes made to controlled substance schedules by the State
  • Prescription Pain Medication Awareness Program established by the State
  • A safe prescription drug disposal program be created by the Department of Health (DOH)

Why is I-STOP needed?

Over the past two decades, drug overdose deaths have risen steadily. In fact, every year since 2001, prescription drugs, specifically opioid analgesics, have played a part in the most overdose deaths of any illicit drug class, including deaths due to cocaine and heroin combined according to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2017 National Drug Threat Assesment.

What are the Benefits of I-STOP?

I-STOP was created to help healthcare practitioners better assess their patients who are being treated with controlled substances and was passed to:

  • Prevent prescription fraud
  • Avert prescription drug abuse and overdose
  • Prevent paper prescription pads from being stolen or otherwise illegally used by moving to a 100% electronic prescription system
  • Reduce prescription errors
  • Track and monitor controlled substance prescriptions
  • Prevent doctor shopping (when patients simultaneously seek care from several healthcare practitioners, often trying to get additional prescriptions). I-STOP lets providers easily access a patient’s prescription history to help prevent this behavior.

How does I-STOP affect my practice?

Since August of 2013, all New York prescribers have been required to consult the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) Registry before writing a prescription for a Schedule II, III and IV controlled substance.

To use the PMP, prescribers must have a health commerce system (HCS) account. HCS accounts can be applied for online through the New York State Department of Health.

As of 2016, all drugs, including controlled substances must be electronically prescribed.

Are there any exceptions to I-STOP?

I-STOP does not apply to veterinarians.

For all other controlled substance prescriptions, the prescription must be electronically transmitted, regardless of the amount.

To note, one exception exists. A paper or oral prescription for a controlled substance may be issued as long as it does not exceed a 5 day supply if the practitioner deems it impractical for the patient to get an e-prescribed medication promptly and if the delay would adversely affect their medical condition.

The first step to getting started with I-STOP is to apply for a Health Commerce System (HCS) account for prescribing and non-prescribing medical professionals. You can find instructions here.

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