Supporting EPCS Technology Good for All
In the last four years, there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of drugs categorized as controlled substances, and approximately 30 percent of all prescription drugs in 2015 are expected to be fall into this category. With increasing regulations around written prescriptions, refills, and fax requests, fulfilling these medications can become difficult for pharmacies to manage. Technology that supports Electronic Prescription for Controlled Substances (EPCS) can be a beneficial tool to meet regulatory demands, ensure patient safety, and improve efficiencies for the pharmacy and prescribers.
Benefits for pharmacies
Accepting EPCS can increase efficiencies in the pharmacy by reducing time spent on data entry, since all pertinent prescription information is received directly into the pharmacy management system. This also reduces errors, as there is no misinterpretation of a written prescription as it is entered into the system. Using a pharmacy management system with EPCS capabilities enables better organization and smoother workflow in pharmacies, leading to better customer service.
Benefits for patients
The use of EPCS can minimize wait times for patients at the prescriber and the pharmacy. It also reduces the chances that the patient will have to visit the pharmacy repeatedly while clarifications are sought regarding a written controlled substance prescription. Pain management customers can dramatically save the amount of time spent at the pharmacy and physician’s office waiting for a new written prescription. Instead, some patients’ prescriptions can be time-released without unneeded interaction with the physician’s office or the need to pick-up an Rx and drive it to the pharmacy.
Benefits for prescribers
Many prescribers are adopting and prefer EPCS. This simplifies the prescribing process and drastically reduces the chances of error. Using EPCS, doctors can send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, removing the risks associated with patients carrying written prescriptions. The direct interaction between pharmacies and prescribers prevents the misuse of post-dated prescriptions, which can be high when there is a shortage of drugs or when the doctor changes medications during treatment. With EPCS, prescribers can contribute to reducing prescription narcotics abuse, because patients have a harder time using multiple pharmacies to get around filling prescriptions early. The prescriber sends the controlled Rx directly to the patient’s pharmacy and can reduce possible overdose situations.
If you are interested in using EPCS within your pharmacy, contact your pharmacy software vendor to inquire whether support for this feature is available.