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Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances Improves Safety, Patient Care

In 2009, more than 1 million emergency department visits were attributed to prescription drug abuse. Controlled substances have the potential for dependence and overdose; therefore, precautions must be taken when prescribing these medications. Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is one way to improve safety and quality of care. It allows providers to write and send prescriptions securely and electronically to a patient’s pharmacy, which helps control prescription drug abuse.

The Drug Enforcement Agency first approved the use of EPCS in 2010, and it is now legal in 49 states, plus Washington, DC. EPCS not only helps control prescription drug abuse through refill request monitoring; it can also alert pharmacists to multiple prescriptions for the same patient by different providers.

Some of the other benefits of writing and transmitting controlled substances prescriptions electronically include:

  • Fewer mistakes in dose designations
  • Greater medication compliance
  • Fewer forged prescriptions
  • Ability to check for drug-drug drug-allergy interactions
  • Improved clinical decision support

EPCS in New York State

Electronic prescribing of controlled substances will be mandatory in New York State starting March 2016 for drugs in Schedules II through V. To comply with the EPCS requirement, providers and pharmacists will need to use computer applications that meet federal security requirements for e-prescribing.

Using E-prescribing Software for EPCS

Whether your organization is in New York and needs to prepare for next year’s EPCS deadline, or you simply want to start writing e-prescriptions for controlled substances to improve patient care, there are two things you need to do to get started.

  1. Find out if your e-prescribing software is certified to electronically prescribe controlled substances.
  2. Find out whether local pharmacies plan to offer EPCS. You can find a list of EPCS-enabled pharmacies here.

1st Providers Choice’s EMR and e-prescribing software is designed to meet federal requirements for electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Our software improves prescription management and medication adherence, contributes to better health outcomes, and increases convenience for patients.

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