Texas State Board of Pharmacy Has Outlawed Paper Prescriptions?

    Darrel Pruit, DDS
Attention Texas dental patients. You should read this.

At a uniquely critical time in history, as dentists strive to keep their patients out of emergency rooms, pharmacists here in Fort Worth are telling dentists that the Texas State Board of Pharmacy has outlawed paper prescriptions – even for antibiotics.
According to three local pharmacists, on January 1, 2021 many dentists – including myself – will no longer be allowed to prescribe medications without digital records, no matter the urgency. As a dentist, I neither need nor want digital records, and as a patient, you shouldn’t either. Let me show you third-party nonsense which does NOTHING to improve patient care.
According to Protenus Breach Barometer, between April and June of 2017, 142 healthcare data breaches were reported, impacting 3.14 million records. 23 of the incidents involved paper, affecting 158,711 records. 158,711 divided by 3,140,000 = 5%.
This means that if your dentist put your identifying information on a computer, you had a 95% greater chance of medical identity theft than if your paper records were stored in a metal filing cabinet. In the last three years, the breaches have only worsened, cyber-crime is growing stronger every day, and most importantly, there are no solutions on the horizon. I ask you, why should any healthcare provider be forced by the state to knowingly risk Texans’ welfare?
Electronic dental records – both cloud-based and premises-based – are not only increasingly more expensive and increasingly more dangerous than paper for both dentists and patients, but they offer patients NO TANGIBLE BENEFITS over paper.
Just ask anyone.
But there’s more. Electronic dental records (which do nothing to improve care) also require far more training and specialized expertise than the working knowledge of alphabetical order required for filing charts in their correct place. Dental EHRs are first and foremost billing tools which not only shift the high cost of data entry from insurers back to dentists (read “patients”), but enable the really clever CEOs to control treatment decisions by employing strategic complexities for payment. All that digital offers dentists is convenience – expensive, dangerous convenience.
If Texans knew the truth, many would naturally prefer paper dental records. The business of dentistry is simply not so complicated that it requires computerization. After all, a dentist bills for treatments involving only the lower 1/3 of the face, and because dentistry involves intricate handwork, dentists can only safely treat a dozen or so patients a day – compared to 40 or more for physicians.
Very large, successful dental practices have thrived without computers for decades, while their patients enjoy the gold standard of security: Loud, heavy and cumbersome sheet metal filing cabinets.
Let’s face it. Electronic dental records will never protect patients from identity theft as well as paper. CVS, Walgreens and Albertson’s as examples, simply don’t care. Surprised?
Darrell K. Pruitt DDS
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