Why EPCS Matters
America is facing a national public health crisis: prescription drug abuse. Prescription medication overdoses are responsible for nearly 23,000 deaths per year—more than the fatalities caused by overdoses of cocaine and heroin combined. The number of deaths involving opioid painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin is rising at an alarming rate, increasing nearly fourfold over the last decade.
The use of paper prescriptions for these highly addictive controlled substances only compounds the problem. The number of altered, stolen, and fraudulent paper-based prescriptions continues to increase.
Reaching the Tipping Point for Adoption of EPCS
The volume of controlled substance prescriptions is on the rise, increasing from 10 percent of all prescriptions in 2010 to a projected 30 percent in 2015. A major contributing factor to this increase is the reclassification of hydrocodone combination drugs (Vicodin) to Schedule II controlled substances - prohibiting faxing, verbal orders, and refills. Hydrocodone combination drugs are the most prescribed drugs in the US with over 135 million prescriptions in 2013. Furthermore, controlled substances are often prescribed in conjunction with non-controlled substances, so this increase in volume exacerbates the challenges of dual prescribing workflows for organizations who have not adopted EPCS: e-prescribing for non-controlled substances and printed, paper prescribing for schedule II-V substances.
Tipping Point Statistic: 40% of all patients who receive a prescription in 2015 for a non-controlled substance are likely to have at least one prescription for a controlled substance as well.
Prescribers and patients are facing an unprecedented number of mixed substance prescriptions. Without EPCS, prescribers are tasked to complete two different prescribing processes creating an inefficient and confusing prescribing workflow for both the prescriber and patient. By adopting EPCS, prescribers and patients can enjoy a simplified, consistent workflow for all prescriptions resulting in:
- Improved provider productivity by enabling one workflow for all prescriptions
- Enhanced patient satisfaction by minimizing wait times at pharmacies and reducing unnecessary office visits
- Increased overall e-prescribing adoption to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria
The video below highlights the key benefits of Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances from a physician's perspective.
Imprivata Confirm ID is the fast, secure signing solution for EPCS. It is the most comprehensive platform for provider identity proofing, supervised enrollment of credentials, two factor authentication, and auditing and reporting to help healthcare organizations meet the DEA requirements for EPCS. Imprivata Confirm ID integrates with leading EMRs and e-prescribing applications, and it supports the most complete set of two-factor authentication modalities, including Hands Free Authentication, to make EPCS as fast and convenient as possible for care providers.
We also encourage you to visit the EPCS Insights blog for the latest opinions, advice and best practices for EPCS success from various industry experts.