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E-prescribing of controlled substances now possible with application approval


DrFirst?s release of the first application available nationwide and approved by the Drug Enforcement Agency for e-prescribing of controlled substances should make e-prescribing easier for physicians?and prescription abuse a little harder for patients. Learn more about the product and how you may no longer have to maintain a dual prescribing system?paper for controlled substances and electronic for everything else.

Controlled substances account for 11% of all prescriptions, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For many physicians, maintaining two prescribing systems and workflows-a paper-based one for controlled substances and an electronic one for everything else-has been a significant obstacle to the broad adoption of e-prescriptions (eRx) and the rapid identification of prescription drug abusers who are stockpiling potentially addictive Schedule II drugs.

While the DEA released the interim final rule for electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) in June 2010, no healthcare IT vendors have yet met the requirements for implementation, until recently. After many years of research, development, and translating the DEA's requirements for EPCS, DrFirst Inc. has released a product offering that resolves usage challenges identified by physicians who participated in a pilot program conducted in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, that began in 2009. At the same time, it integrates sophisticated online identity proofing and credentialing technology developed by Experian and Symantec that meets the DEA’s two-factor authentication requirements.

DrFirst’s release of EPCS Gold™ is fully certified to meet the prescription processing requirements set by the DEA and the identity proofing requirements set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and it is now available to all eligible providers nationwide.

This new product allows for the flagging of multiple prescriptions for stimulants and narcotics filed by different doctors and filled by a number of pharmacies, and it is available to all providers regardless of whether they are customers of DrFirst. Physicians can begin the credentialing process so that when the pharmacies in their states achieve certification to begin accepting EPCS, they will be ready to send immediately. EPCS Gold should make e-prescribing easier for physicians-and prescription abuse a little harder for patients.

The American Medical Group Association said in a letter encouraging the DEA to balance law enforcement and physician concerns, “Ideally, all physicians would eventually choose to use eRx systems for their controlled substances because this process is more secure than paper-based prescribing.”

Use of eRx is voluntary. Medicare’s e-prescribing incentive program provides an exception for physicians who primarily write prescriptions for controlled substances, and some states still specifically require paper prescriptions for Schedule II drugs.

Go back to the current issue of eConsult.

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