California’s new drug database, scheduled to launch July 1, may be incompatible with the state’s existing computer systems, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The database, called the Controlled Substances Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES), is intended to combat drug abuse by tracking the distribution of certain medications, like OxyContin. According to a report released by the National Institute of Health, prescription drug abuse is on the rise, with the number of methylphenidate and amphetamine prescriptions totaling 45 million in 2010, up from 39 million in 2009.
The new $3 million upgrade, however, is reportedly incompatible with older versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, making access to the system impossible for some doctors unless additional upgrades are made. A memo from the California Medical Association last week reported that thousands of practitioners might be unable to access the system.
An official from the state Department of Justice, which oversees the administration of CURES, noted that state agencies received an advanced warning that such an upgrade would be necessary, and that doctors already should be using modern browsers with up-to-date security standards, for the protection of patient information.
Before launch, it’s unclear whether the criticism facing CURES is just nitpicking, or whether possible Web browser incompatibility is the foreshadowing of yet another chapter in California’s storied history of troubled multi-million dollar technology projects.