We are excited to present this article, reprinted with permission from Ken Whittemore, Jr. Vice President of Professional & Regulatory Affairs at Surescripts.
Fraud and abuse are prevalent in the world of prescription painkillers. In 2017, a total of 61,311 people died from drug overdoses – with an estimated 40% from prescription opioid medicine. This is 61,311 too many. Diversion is a significant cause of opioid misuse, with between 3% and 9% of diverted drugs tied to fraud or forgery of paper prescriptions.
Every day 91 Americans die from an opioid-related overdose, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that $55 billion in health and social costs are spent annually in this country on prescription opioid abuse.
That’s why healthcare technology such as Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) is so timely — and why legislation that requires e-prescribing and/or EPCS is so crucial. EPCS eliminates paper prescriptions, which can be stolen, forged or altered. It also gives prescribers electronic access to a patient’s prescription history to help identify potential overuse or abuse as well as the benefit of clinical decision support tools.
EPCS can and is having a real impact on combating the opioid epidemic, and prescriber adoption is increasing as many states now require, or will be requiring in the future, some form of e-prescribing.
Integrating EPCS within a prescriber’s EHR offers new levels of safety and security for controlled substance prescriptions. It also results in enhanced privacy and prescribing flexibility as well as improved workflow efficiency.
There are 4 required steps for prescribers to implement EPCS:
- Get Certified: Prescribers must use EHR software that is certified and approved for EPCS. Quanum® EHR with Quanum ePrescribing offers this service to help meet EPCS requirements for a low monthly fee.
- Complete an ID Proofing Process: Prescribers must prove they’re authorized to prescribe controlled substances and that they’ve been assigned the proper credentials.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Prescribers must use two-factor authentication when electronically signing an EPCS prescription.
- Set Secure Software Access Controls: A prescriber’s practice, health system or clinic must use a two-factor authentication process to give EPCS permissions to approved prescribers.
Ken Whittemore, Jr. is Vice President of Professional & Regulatory Affairs at Surescripts. Prior to Surescripts, he spent 16 years as a practicing pharmacist before moving into pharmacy association work. In addition to his work with regulatory and legislative affairs, he serves as a liaison to state and national pharmacy associations.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views of Quest Diagnostics®, or any of its employees.