For people with chronic conditions, taking their prescription medication as prescribed can be vital to maintaining their health. But for many, filling their prescription can be a difficult journey– one fraught with potential obstacles that can manifest as inaccurate prescriptions or difficulty following through with the prescription regimen.
Another weighty matter that affects all stakeholders is the potential for abuse. If not addressed adequately, the implications can be grim for all parties. EPCS has been touted as the best solution to these problems, but it’s unlikely to yield significant results without sufficient compliance by all stakeholders.
Read on to discover more about compliance and how it can complement EPCS’ efforts to improve patient outcomes and curb drug abuse/misuse.
The Prescription Journey
The prescription journey is the process a patient takes to get their medication from the point of prescribing by their healthcare provider to collecting the medication from the pharmacy.
This process can be complex, and compliance is vital in ensuring patients receive their medication safely and on time. It also helps reduce the possibility of drug misuse or abuse which can cause harm to the patient and the general public.
What is EPCS, And Why It’s Important?
EPCS, or Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances in full, is a process that allows medical practitioners to electronically prescribe controlled substances, i.e., drugs that have the potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction.
EPCS aims to provide a more efficient method of processing prescription requests and dispensing medications to ensure better patient outcomes and reduce the risk of prescription drug abuse and misuse.
To do this, EPCS requires special compliance measures to be implemented by medical practitioners and pharmacies.
While EPCS is an effective tool in combating prescription drug abuse, it is essential to note that compliance is key to its success.
Who Does EPCS Affect?
EPCS affects anyone who writes prescriptions for controlled substances.
It also affects pharmacies as they will need to be able to accept electronic prescriptions for controlled substances.
Understanding Compliance and How To Go About It
Generally, compliance refers to adhering to specific regulations or guidelines. In the context of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), compliance refers to a prescriber’s adherence to the regulations set forth by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
EPCS compliance is vital for several reasons. First, it helps to ensure that controlled substances are only prescribed when medically necessary. Additionally, compliance with EPCS regulations can help prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion.
Finally, complying with EPCS rules and regulations helps protect patients and prescribers from potential legal consequences.
These are the steps clinicians and other prescribers must take to ensure compliance with EPCS regulations.
- Obtain a DEA registration number
- Complete mandatory training
- Establish effective identification procedures for patients.
How An Organization Can Become and Remain Compliant
There are three critical components to compliance: policies and procedures, training, and documentation.
1. Policies and Procedures
The first step in compliance is developing policies and procedures. You and your staff will follow these rules when prescribing controlled substances. They should cover everything from how to write prescriptions to necessary checks and balances.
You’ll need to develop policies and procedures for each step of the prescribing process, from initial evaluation to ongoing monitoring. Once you’ve created your policies and procedures, you’ll need to train your staff on them. And finally, you’ll need to document everything.
Training is essential for compliance. All staff who prescribe controlled substances must be trained on your policies and procedures. They should understand the risks associated with prescribing controlled substances and know how to minimize them.
Training should be ongoing so that everyone is up to date on the latest changes to your policies and procedures. Documentation is also necessary when it comes to training. You should keep records of who has been trained, when, and what they were trained on.
All healthcare organizations must document everything, from patient evaluations to prescription orders. Documentation should be complete, accurate, and up to date. Organizations should store these records securely and ensure they’re accessible only to authorized staff members. And it should be available for review by regulatory agencies upon request.
Some additional tips to help your organization remains compliant include:
- Evaluate your EPCS program regularly. Make sure you are constantly reviewing your program to ensure it is compliant with all regulations.
- Stay up to date on all EPCS changes and requirements. The rules and regulations surrounding EPCS are constantly changing, so it’s essential to stay up to date on all the latest information and adjust as necessary.
- Have a plan in place for non-compliance. If you happen to run into compliance issues, make sure you have a plan to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
- Work with a partner that understands and factors in EPCS compliance in their e-prescribing solutions.
Compliance with EPCS and other relevant regulations is vital for healthcare providers who prescribe controlled substances. By understanding the rules and regulations surrounding EPCS and making an effort to stay compliant, prescribers can help protect themselves, their patients, and the public.
Making The Switch
Thanks to the implementation of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), practitioners are now legally allowed to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies instead of writing out a paper prescription.
While this may seem like a small change, it significantly impacts compliance. Paper prescriptions can be easily lost or stolen, but electronic prescriptions are much more secure. In addition, practitioners can now track whether or not patients are refilling their prescriptions, which can help identify potential diversion issues.
Of course, switching to EPCS-compliant solutions can be daunting, but the process can be a breeze with the right partner. There are also resources available to help practitioners make the transition. The DEA has published guidance on how to get started with EPCS, and many software companies, such as NewCrop, offer solutions that can help with compliance.
Making the switch to EPCS is worth it in the end, as it will help keep patients safe and ensure that controlled substances are prescribed appropriately.
NewCrop Rx has been trusted by over 200 EHR partners and over 40,000 prescribing physicians to provide award-winning electronic prescribing services. Schedule a demo today to experience the convenience and unmatched capability of an EPCS-compliant e-prescribing solution.
EPCS can potentially improve patient care and outcomes, but only if prescriptions are filled and taken as prescribed. That’s where compliance comes in.
Numerous factors can influence a patient’s ability to comply with their medication regimen, including cost, side effects, and difficulty of use.
For this and many other reasons, it’s important for providers to clearly explain the importance of taking medication as prescribed and offer support in ensuring that patients have what they need to comply. With the right EPCS-compliant solution, that support can take the form of automatic refill reminders, home delivery of medications, and more.
Ultimately, it’s up to each patient to decide to take their medication as prescribed. But by making compliance more straightforward and convenient, clinicians can help more patients stay on track with their EPCS prescriptions – and improve their health and outcomes. In the same breath, healthcare organizations can play a crucial part in curbing drug abuse and misuse.