Many of the legal issues surrounding e-prescribing have been resolved in recent years. 49 states and Washington, D.C. now permit prescriptions to be created and transmitted electronically (compared to only 25 states in 2004).
More recently, in 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued an interim final rule which sets federal standards, rules and regulations for the electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). In 2012, AzHeC helped to lead the passage of House Bill 2369 (HB 2369) which included statutory language to allow for EPCS in Arizona. Visit the Policy Development page for more information on this legislation.
Although the DEA rule and Arizona statute allow for EPCS in Arizona, it has taken time for prescribers, pharmacies and pharmacy benefits managers to implement the necessary system functionality to meet the DEA requirements. This is primarily due to the e-prescribing system vendors’ implementation of the significant DEA standards and requirements. AzHeC is tracking the implementation of EPCS-certified systems in Arizona and will make more information available to providers and pharmacies as growing EPCS system functionality is available.
- One workflow for all prescriptions: non-controlled and controlled substances
- Condensed record keeping for all of a patient’s prescription history
- Reduced fraud and abuse
- Improved legibility
- Decreased adverse drug events
For EPCS to work, both pharmacy technology and electronic health record (EHR) systems must be EPCS certified. Additionally, prescribers must take certain steps, including getting identity proofed and implementing dual factor authentication into their prescribing workflow. Many statewide pharmacies are now EPCS capable, including Walgreens and CVS.
EPCS Steps for Prescribers
- Contact your EHR vendor and ask if they are certified to do EPCS
- Complete identity proofing requirement
- Set up access controls
- Obtain dual authentication device or process
- Adhere to digital signature and audit requirements
To learn more about EPCS, visit the Surescripts website.