The Role of E-prescribing In Healthcare

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Healthcare Industry News

E-prescribing is a system that allows prescribers to send prescriptions directly to a pharmacy electronically. Supported by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, this initiative gained popularity after the Institute of Medicine’s 2006 report spotlighted its potential in minimizing medication errors. This development is part of a federal push towards the adoption of electronic medical records and the creation of a unified electronic health information network in the United States. The forthcoming legislation in Congress will improve e-prescription practices, particularly for controlled substances, addressing the challenges of implementing such systems and the digital identity technology by Imprivata, which has been important in healthcare for years.

Healthcare is complicated, especially in the prescribing of controlled substances, and introduces challenges given the stringent regulatory environment overseen by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state-run Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs). The misuse of prescription drugs, including opioids and medications for ADHD, remains a public health issue, and necessites oversight mechanisms. The processes of prescribing controlled substances electronically involve a series of procedural steps, as outlined by Imprivata’s Dr. Sean Kelly. These steps ensure that only authorized medical personnel can issue prescriptions, a process further complicated by the necessity of in-person verification between clinicians and administrators.

The history of Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) is a journey of slow legislative and regulatory progress, aiming to reconcile the need for controls with the efficiencies of modern technology. Initiatives such as the American Telemedicine Association’s recommendations for a Special Registration process showing the ongoing efforts to refine EPCS. The proposed “T” modifier for telemedicine prescriptions seeks to establish a new standard of legitimacy for electronically issued prescriptions, ensuring that digital healthcare accommodates the process of prescribing controlled substances without compromising on patient safety or provider accountability.

Two proposed bills in the U.S. Congress—the EPCS 2.0 Act among them—aim to standardize and mandate the electronic prescribing of controlled substances nationwide. These legislative efforts will balance the leveraging digital innovations for healthcare delivery and upholding standards to prevent misuse. The technological infrastructure supported by companies like Imprivata plays an important role in this space , offering solutions that quicken the prescribing process while maintaining the highest levels of security and compliance.

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