Tomorrow, September 22, 2020, Elliot Health System’s electronic medical record (Epic) is being upgraded with the use of DUO, a two-factor verification tool, to include a new feature: electronic prescription of controlled substances (EPCS). Southern New Hampshire Health will have access to EPCS when they go live with Epic in November.
Prior to this new feature, providers had to write or print a controlled substance prescription, a patient would then have to pick it up, and then bring it to the pharmacy. “This new feature will be an enormous advantage for our patients and for our providers. There will no longer be issues with lost prescriptions, patients will have one less stop, and we can more safely monitor the number of prescriptions being sent to the pharmacy,” Dr. Holly Mintz, Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Services at Elliot Health System explains.
Dr. Michael DeLeo, Chief Medical Officer for Foundation Medical Partners at Southern New Hampshire Health, concurs, adding, “EPCS provides less risk of forgery or diversion with scripts. It’s also better overall with more consistent practice workflows.”
The electronic prescribing of controlled substance is something that is heavily regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA controls drugs with the highest risk of addiction or abuse based on the Controlled Substances Act.
Because of this, EPCS has a specific set of rules provided by the DEA. One of the rules is identity proofing. It’s simply a way to verify a provider’s identity. The DEA requires that the health system confirms each provider to ensure the licensed prescriber is the one who is actually prescribing the medication. As required by the DEA, the e-prescribing system relies on a double-authentication approval to help prevent misuse. Our SolutionHealth providers at both campuses have been visiting our respective Medical Staff Offices for the last few months in preparation for our EPCS launch completing the identity proofing paperwork required by the DEA.
“With any new technology there are risks and it’s imperative for pharmacies to ensure that they’re receiving the prescription from in fact the provider that’s prescribing,” Dr. Mintz says.
“At the end of the day, it’s safer and more reliable for our patients. It will allow them to get refills quicker and reduce the risk of lost or stolen scripts,” Dr. DeLeo explains.