e-Prescribing of Controlled Substances

As seen in the Consultant Connection May 2016 Issue
Martha Somers, Administrator of IT, ICP, Inc.
In 2013, ICP received our first electronic prescription that met stringent DEA requirements for controlled substances.  Making e-prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) legal nationwide, while a critical step, is only one part of solving the problem of prescription opioid abuse. The next step is for more and more prescribers to adopt and use the technology. To support this goal, Surescripts is leading an online effort to educate physicians on the steps they need to take to begin using EPCS. The website www.getEPCS.com outlines the actions that physicians must take, offering easy to follow guidance on the 4 key areas to get up and running with EPCS:  
  • Certification Status of EHR Software - The first step is to find out if the electronic health record (EHR) software version being used has already been certified and approved for EPCS. To check this, go to www.getEPCS.com and click “Find your EHR status”. 
  • Obtaining Identity Proofing - The second required step is ID Proofing. This basically is “you are who you say you are”. ID proofing can be done in-person by your health system’s credentialing office or online through companies working with your EHR. 
  • Two-Factor Authentication - This double-level process ensures that only you can sign and send the controlled substance prescription to the pharmacy. There are various options: mobile phones, smart cards, fob tokens, USB drives, and biometrics like fingerprint scanners. 
  • Setting Software Access Controls - The fourth and final step is software access. This step involves setting secure access controls and permissions for your e-prescribing software. This will involve the ID-proofed physician and another person who can confirm the physician’s identify or the health systems IT department. 
There are many benefits to EPCS. Please encourage your medical staff to learn more.

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