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University of Alabama Health System Prints Up Secure Prescription Pads

When the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System needed to comply with a federal law to make it harder to create fake prescriptions, it was a Xerox press and specialized Xerox paper that provided the antidote.

The new regulations require doctors, pharmacists, dentists and others who write prescriptions for Medicaid patients to use pads with security features in the form. The university's Printing and Mailing Services was able to print its tamper-resistant prescription pads using Xerox specialty paper on the Xerox iGen3 110 Digital Production Press.

"We're setting a new standard for security and innovation and proving to our customers that we can help them solve their print and business challenges," said Stephen Murray, director, Business Auxiliary Services, UAB Printing and Mailing Services.

Secure features in the UAB Health System prescription pads include:
  • Thermochromic ink--An "Rx" mark on back of document fades from red to clear when heat is applied and changes back to its original color when cooled.
  • Reactive stains will appear when someone attempts to chemically alter the document.
  • Invisible fluorescent fibers in the paper are invisible under normal viewing conditions and can only be checked for authenticity using a black light.
  • Microprinting--Under magnification, the border on the back of the pad reads "Original Document."
  • A security screen pattern appears on the front if the document is copied.
  • When the front of the pad is copied, the word "void" appears repeatedly across the entire prescription.
According to Murray, this security solution could also be used beyond prescriptions, including jobs such as transcripts, checks, parking permits, and event tickets. The specialty paper is more expensive than regular paper, but UAB was able to reduce the overall costs by producing the pads digitally on the iGen3 press, Murray said.

In addition to prescription pads, UAB Printing and Mailing Services uses the 110 page-per-minute press to handle other jobs, including business cards, university letterhead, media guides and 32-page, 5' x 3' "pocket art edition" books used to publicize student art exhibit openings. The university's athletics department also uses the Xerox machine for 11th hour program and ticket production.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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