E-prescribing Of Controlled Substances:
Why Is It Important
What Are Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances and Why Does It Matter?
In the earlier days, submitting a prescription used to require a hand-written note from a doctor delivered to a pharmacy in person.
The process was long and cumbersome, leading to inefficiencies across the board. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration legalized the use of electronic prescriptions in 2010.
The goal was to help reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse. It also helped improve the safety and security of getting prescriptions to those who need them.
To facilitate this, the need for e prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) technology was present. This type of technology helps to reduce the risk of stolen prescriptions. To do so, prescriber authentication is necessary.
Additional levels of security include improved security standards and the use of EPCS audits. Let’s take a look at what EPCS is, what a controlled substance is, and a few details.
What Is EPCS?
What is a controlled substance?
That’s the starting point of this type of technology. This is any type of prescription drug that has a risk of causing abuse or dependence. This may include, for example, opioid pain medications or some types of benzodiazepines.
These drugs are beneficial to many people. Used properly, they do not cause addiction. Misuse causes an increased risk of addiction, dependence, and life-threatening outcomes.
Table of Contents
Five Categories of Controlled Substances
The Controlled Substance Act regulates the access of these controlled drugs. The drugs fall into one of five categories called schedules. Schedule I drug have a high risk of abuse. Schedule V drugs carry less risk of abuse.
Here’s a look at what those controlled substances are:
- Schedule I: These drugs have no recognized medical use in the country. They are not safe to use even with medical supervision. These are illicit drugs. They have the highest level of abuse risk as well.
- Schedule II: These drugs carry a high risk of potential abuse. They may cause either physical or psychological dependence when used.
- Schedule III: There is less risk of abuse here than higher tiers. There is still the risk of low to moderate physical dependence with these drugs. They also carry a higher risk of psychological dependence.
- Schedule IV: These drugs have some but a low abuse risk. They are a bit safer in this way than Schedule III drugs.
- Schedule V: These drugs have a low abuse risk. These drugs tend to be hard to obtain. Pharmacies monitor these drugs in terms of quantities accessed.
How Does EPCS Come Into Play?
EPSC is a type of technology used to address access to these products in safe manner. Clinicians can write and transmit prescriptions for controlled substances through electronic means using this technology. Pharmacies receive that electronic prescription. They can dispense and archive the prescription at that point.
Without this technology, the process of communicating such prescriptions is difficult. With it, there is more access to the drugs people need. Yet, there remains ample control in place.
How Can EPCS Help Your Practice?
EPCS enrollment offers a range of benefits for any practice. It can help ensure patients receive access to the medications they need. It also works to minimize the risk of abuse. That helps protect your practice from risks.
Provider and EHR Technology Responsibilities
What are the requirements for EPCS practitioners? It’s important to know the specific requirements and rules associated with these technologies. The Drug Enforcement Administration established Title 21 to address this. There is a significant amount of responsibility placed on the provider to ensure security.
The provider must register with the organization. They must obtain a Drug Enforcement Administration number. With this number, they can then prescribe controlled substances.
In addition, providers must maintain strict security standards, including maintaining sole possession of any two-factor authentication tokens issued. They must never share passwords with any person at any time. Practitioner responsibilities remain the same as if writing a paper prescription as well.
EPCS requires the creation of Identity Proofing. This applies to all vendors, prescribers, and any pharmacy. It requires two-factor authentication. This can include the use of an EPCS token, for example. To fully protect info, an EPCS audit is also necessary.
Another component is the responsibilities related to EHR technology. The Title 21 rules require the EHR technology to be certified by a third party auditor or a certification organization. When it meets this goal, the technology can address the creation, signing, and proper refilling of these substances.
As a result, the EHR technology must link to at least one registration number, and that must be the only party issuing the prescription.
Benefits Associated with the EPCS
Once e prescribing controlled substances requirements are in place, organizations reap many benefits from using this technology. Those benefits may include:
- Simplify the task of fulfilling prescriptions of controlled substances
- Utilization of customized templates designed for specific practice needs
- A cost-effective solution applicable to any practice
- Security for some of the highest risk drugs used today
- EPCS audit ensures accuracy in tracing prescriptions
- Improved consumer access and use of prescriptions
Organizations making the move to a higher quality system may find it one of the best decisions. It is efficient and time-saving for busy practices or limited staff. It may offer improvements with practice management. To do that, it can work to identify patient insurance information. In addition, it may allow for quickly made customized statements.
More so, the use of EPCS makes sense. Long gone are the days of simply processing a paper prescription. The security risks here may be profound. This technology reduces liability risk by improving customer services.
States with Upcoming EPCS Mandates
Since the inception of these products, all 50 states now have rules in place for this technology. E-prescribing of controlled substances is legal in all 50 states. It is a standard, overall, in utilizing prescriptions today.
About PrognoCIS EPCS Certified System
As a Meaningful Use Certified system, PrognoCIS offers numerous innovative features and functions. This technology offers a range of benefits. It meets individual needs through customization and offers seamless migration of data from the currently used EHR system. Can an online doctor prescribe controlled substances? Using this system, with a built-in app, the answer is yes. Consultation at home or office works seamlessly.
PrognoCIS offers customizable templates that enable the workflow to meet the needs and requirements of the practice. It is easy to see the value of making the switch. Learn how this powerful solution can transform functions within your office space. Contact us today to learn how.