Surescripts releases new resources on e-prescribing controlled substances

Health information network giant Surescripts has published new tools to help prescribers learn more about the electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

The online guide, "Getting Started with EPCS" is intended to educate prescribers about e-prescribing of controlled substances and walk them through the process to set themselves up to do so.

E-prescribing has been growing; the Office of the Natioanl Coordinator for Health IT issued a guide earlier this month that noted 70 percent of physicians are using e-prescribing. However, prescribers need to jump through more regulatory hoops in order to e-prescribe controlled substances. While more than 70 percent of pharmacies can accept electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, only 6 percent of prescribers are ready to send them, even though more than 60 percent who already are e-prescribers use software that has at least one e-prescribing certified version enabled to do so, according to Surescripts' announcement.

Surescripts' new guide helps prescribers handle the additional regulatory requirements, such as determining which Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) pathway they should be using, how to handle ID proofing, setting up two-factor authentication and creating secure access controls.

"A number of complex regulatory and technology requirements exist, and the amount of misinformation about EPCS is daunting, with many prescribers unaware that they have this option or that it's legal," David Yakimischak, executive vice president and general manager at Surescripts, says in the announcement. "By eliminating the paper prescription and connecting physicians and pharmacists electronically, there is an opportunity to improve care, reduce fraud, and identify potential instances of abuse."

Surescripts expects to deliver at least 5 million electronic prescriptions of controlled substances in 2015, an increase of almost 400 percent from last year. However, many physicians don't realize that it is now legal in 48 states plus the District of Columbia, with legislation pending in the last two states, Missouri and Montana. New York has gone further and mandated e-prescribing of controlled substances; however, many have asked that the requirement, slated to go into effect March 27, be delayed since prescribers are not yet prepared.

To learn more:
- here are the new tools
- read the announcement