The importance of having an EPCS certified EHR

The ability to actually control drugs that are known as “controlled substances” is becoming more important and more urgent. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.” Independent physicians who use electronic health records (EHRs) can take an active part in controlling these substances by ensuring they have an EHR certified for EPCS.

Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) enables independent physicians to create e-prescriptions that can be received and acted upon by pharmacies. EPCS, a regulation that became effective in June 2010, gives physicians “the ability to use modern technology for controlled substance prescriptions while maintaining the closed system of controls on controlled substances.”

An EHR certified for EPCS will add to the security level of prescription drugs. Paper prescriptions can be stolen or misused. EHRs transmit information electronically, so that only a verified recipient, in this case the pharmacist, can access the information. EHRs certified for EPCS use a two-step authentication process to ensure that those using the system have the authority and the appropriate need to do so.

The opioid crisis has grown to the point of being officially declared a national emergency in the US. EPCS was introduced as a way to address these high rates of drug abuse across the country. By making prescriptions harder to forge or steal, it reduces the ease with which teens and other citizens can access prescription drugs.

More and more EHR systems are becoming certified for EPCS in an effort to help combat the opioid crisis and to stem the growing numbers of deaths occurring because of prescription abuse. Elation Health provides EPCS for a number of customers, including those in New York, which has added a second level of authentication to tighten up regulations even further.

An EHR certified for EPCS makes prescriptions safer throughout the process. Independent physicians who take advantage of this technology can take an active part in the movement toward solving the opioid crisis in America.