Report from DrFirst Reveals the Current State of Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances in the US
Report shows nation’s pharmacies are mostly enabled while prescribers are slow to catch-up
ROCKVILLE, MD – March 24, 2016 — DrFirst, a pioneer in electronic prescribing, secure texting and other healthcare SaaS solutions, today released a report providing an overview of one of the most valuable tools we have in the fight against the abuse of opioids and other controlled substances: electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS).
More than 15 million people in the US abuse prescription drugs regularly and 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Each day, 44 people in the US die due to an overdose of a prescription painkiller. Accordingly, the US Centers for Disease Control has declared prescription painkiller abuse a “national crisis,” and warns that people who take prescription painkillers can become addicted with just one prescription.
EPCS may help curb this abuse by increasing prescription security, improving patient safety and reducing the practice of “doctor shopping” to fill unnecessary prescriptions.
The report, “The Evolving EPCS Landscape 2016: A Prescription for Stopping Opioid Abuse,” reveals that a vast majority of our nation’s pharmacies (over 82 percent of retail pharmacies) are EPCS-enabled and notes that five states – Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and New York – now report that more than 90 percent of their pharmacies are EPCS enabled.
However, the report also shows that while there has been a dramatic increase in number of prescribers who use EPCS, the prescriber community is still far behind their pharmacy counterparts. On average, only 5.8 percent of all US practitioners are currently EPCS-enabled.
In New York, where the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP) takes effect March 27, requiring all legend drugs and controlled substances to be prescribed electronically, a whopping 96 percent of pharmacies are EPCS enabled—the highest EPCS enablement in the nation—but only 27 percent of the state’s practitioners are enabled to date.
The DrFirst report shows that there has been some positive movement by prescribers over the last year to adopt EPCS. Based on information culled from the more than 250 electronic health record and hospital information system vendors to which DrFirst provides EPCS functionality, along with the thousands of practices and physicians who use stand-alone versions of DrFirst’s software, Rcopia and EPCS Gold, DrFirst calculated there has been a 274 percent increase in the volume of EPCS prescriptions in 2015.
Not surprisingly, the state with the largest increase was New York, which saw a massive 3,225 percent increase in volume of electronic prescriptions, ahead of the e-prescribing mandate deadline.
“Education for prescribers is key to moving the industry from paper to electronic prescriptions for controlled substances,” says Peter Kaufman, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist who also serves as DrFirst’s chief medical officer. “For example, credible EPCS technology vendors can guide doctors through the DEA’s required identity-proofing process so that EPCS enrollment can be completed in just a few days.”
For more information and to download the white paper, visit www.drfirst.com/resources/downloads.
DrFirst (www.DrFirst.com) pioneers electronic prescribing, secure text messaging and other healthcare SaaS solutions that inform the doctor-patient point of encounter, optimize provider access to patient information, enhance the physician’s clinical view of the patient, and improve care delivery and clinical outcomes. Their growth is driven by a commitment to innovation, security and reliability across a wide array of electronic medication management and HIPAA-compliant, secure communication and collaboration services. They are proud of their track record of service to more than 330 EMR/EHR/HIS partners and an extensive network of hospitals, post-acute care facilities, ambulatory practices and pharmacies nationwide.