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The Prescription for Secure Printing How to Cure the High Costs of Pre-Printed Security Paper

Prescription fraud is costly on many fronts. Unfortunately, solutions designed to prevent fraud can be expensive. For example, to meet compliance requirements for tamper-resistant prescriptions, many providers use pre-printed security pads or dedicated printers and pre-printed security paper. But in addition to their high costs, pre-printed solutions can create cumbersome workflows. In this issue of Meet the Expert, Mike Salzman, HP Image and Printing Healthcare Specialist, discusses less costly and more practical solutions to secure your prescriptions.

Q: In terms of compliance issues, what are the biggest challenges we face regarding prescription writing?

A: Prescriptions are the largest single issue and cost factor in the healthcare facility. On top of that, they can pose a huge potential for liability issues for both the doctor and the facility itself. And those liability issues really rely on two separate areas: prescription errors and prescription fraud. In 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) laid out requirements for secure prescriptions to help prevent these errors and fraud. In order to meet the CMS requirements for government reimbursement—they’re the ones that pay the physicians for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement—all prescriptions need to include three types of document security. Those areas are:

• One or more features designed to prevent unauthorized copying of a completed or blank prescription

• One or more features designed to prevent erasure or modification of information on that prescription

• One or more features designed to prevent counterfeiting of that prescription

These security features must be industry recognized to make it possible for the pharmacist to easily recognize if the prescription has been altered or copied or forged in any way.

Q: Have pharmacists and physicians been able to easily achieve compliance or has it been a challenge?

A: It has been a little bit of both. Pre- printed prescription paper has a lot of these security features built into it, but at the same time, it is easy to forge and easy to modify. And as we all know, if you’ve been to the doctor and gotten a hand-written prescription, it’s quite difficult sometimes to read the doctor’s handwriting. So that can pose a chance for a lot of errors out there. We do whatever we can to help minimize those errors.

Q: The pre-printed paper has security features built in, similar to checks?

A: Correct. You got it, exactly.

Q: Can you give a little bit more detail about the pre-printed paper, and does HP offer any other methods of securing prescriptions?

A: From a pre-printed paper standpoint, there are a couple of things to look out for. I think the black market out there for pre-printed prescription paper is estimated at about 100 billion dollars—and those pre-printed prescription pads, each sheet of paper can cost any where from 5 cents to a dollar per page, which is pretty expensive. There always has to be some sort of a tracking or chain of custody in managing those pre-printed papers. From the time they’re printed to the time they’re shipped to the time they get into the healthcare facility, someone has to manage them, and they have to be under lock and key and accounted for. If they get stolen, they can easily be traced back to that healthcare facility.

HP has partnered with a third-party company called TROY, and we’ve come up with the HP TROY SecureRx printing solution. What that does is it allows healthcare providers to print prescriptions

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