Electronic patient records system programmed to suggest opioids at treatment, due to secret deal between the software maker and a drug company

To doctors opening patients’ electronic records across the U.S., the alert would have looked innocuous enough.

A pop-up would appear, asking about a patient’s level of pain. Then, a drop-down menu would list treatments ranging from a referral to a pain specialist to a prescription for an opioid painkiller.

Click a button, and the program would create a treatment plan. From 2016 to spring 2019, the alert went off about 230 million times.

The tool existed thanks to a secret deal. Its maker, a software company called Practice Fusion, was paid by a major opioid manufacturer to design it in an effort to boost prescriptions for addictive pain pills — even though overdose deaths had almost tripled during the prior 15 years, creating a public-health disaster. The software was used by tens of thousands of doctors’ offices.

Its existence was revealed this week thanks to a government investigation. Practice Fusion agreed to pay $145 million to resolve civil and criminal cases, according to documents filed in a Vermont federal court. Practice Fusion admitted to the scheme with an unnamed opioid maker, though the details of the government case closely match a public research partnership between Practice Fusion and Purdue Pharma Inc., which makes OxyContin.

Representatives for Purdue Pharma and the Vermont U.S. attorney declined to comment. Health-software company Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., which bought Practice Fusion for $100 million in 2018, said in a statement the conduct predated the deal and it has “further strengthened” compliance at Practice Fusion, but didn’t answer specific questions about the settlement….

https://governmentslaves.news/2020/01/31/electronic-patient-records-systems-used-by-thousands-of-doctors-were-programmed-to-automatically-suggest-opioids-at-treatment-thanks-to-a-secret-deal-between-the-software-maker-and-a-drug-company/

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