DEA releases long-awaited rule on e-prescribing of controlled substances

After years of promises and delays both bureaucratic and political, electronic prescribing of controlled substances is almost a reality. The Drug Enforcement Agency on Wednesday moved a step closer to eliminating a significant barrier to e-prescribing adoption by releasing for public inspection a 334-page interim final rule and request for comments.

The interim final rule takes into consideration 229 comments the DEA received about a 2008 proposal, and changes the two-step process by which prescribers are credentialed and then granted access to write prescriptions electronically. The DEA calls for systems to have two-factor authentication, but also seeks comments on whether there are suitable alternatives that are secure enough to prevent illegal diversion of controlled substances.

The Federal Register is expected to publish the rule March 31, triggering a 60-day comment period.

For greater detail:
- read this Healthcare IT News story
- view the interim final rule (.pdf)