Like many other states, Illinois has recently seen a significant increase in drug overdoses, mostly due to an increase in opioid misuse. Stopping the current opioid crisis and mitigating its negative effects on society will require years of sustained, coordinated, and focused efforts. However, EPCS is a great step in achieving that goal, and providers can help.
The Opioid Crisis in Illinois
The opioid epidemic is a growing problem in the state of Illinois. Despite the many efforts put into place to curb this crisis, the number of opioid-related deaths continues to rise. Another issue is that Illinois does not have enough treatment facilities to meet the demand for care. This means that many people who need help are not able to get it. The state is working on increasing access to treatment, but more needs to be done. In the meantime, the opioid crisis continues to take a devastating toll on Illinois residents.
What is EPCS?
The goal of electronic prescribing of controlled substances is to replace paper prescriptions with digital ones that are traceable to both the prescribing doctor and the pharmacist. This enhances patient safety by reducing the chances of prescription errors due to illegible handwriting, forgery and alterations, prescription misuse such as filling the same prescription more than once, and more.
The fact that e-prescribing is now being mandated at the state and federal level, underlines the importance of implementing it going forward.
Illinois State EPCS Mandates
Prescriptions for Schedule II, III, IV, and V drugs must now be written electronically under a new amendment to the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, going into effect on January 1st, 2023. This is in addition to the federal mandate which requires all Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substance prescriptions under the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D drug plan to be transmitted electronically.
It is also possible for prescribers who are exempt from the government mandate to prescribe controlled drugs electronically. In this way, you can reduce workload, increase productivity and increase security and safety.
Ways Providers can Help with the Opioid Crisis using EPCS
The following are ways in which EPCS can help:
- Checking regulations for controlled substances
The likelihood of overprescribing or doctor shopping is reduced because prescribers can track the number of restricted prescriptions a patient has had. States can more easily collect data across multiple pharmacies with e-prescribing. Prescription drug monitoring programs are prevalent in several states. The PDMP is a comprehensive electronic database that collects details of drugs prescribed in the state. The PDMP registry must be accessed when writing prescriptions for Schedule II, III, and IV controlled drugs in states that mandate electronic prescribing.
- Avoiding prescription drug mistakes
As many as 95,000 prescribing errors have been reported to the FDA since 2000. These errors can also be caused by drugs with similar sounding names or spellings, a factor that can contribute to increased opioid use.
- Controlled substances can be prescribed easily
Some e-prescribing software allows prescription prohibited substances to be submitted to pharmacies using the same e-prescribing process as prescribed drugs. This improves patient comfort and the efficiency of the healthcare team’s workflow.
- Easily monitor compliance
There is no way to track whether a patient’s handwritten prescription is filled when they leave the office. With E-Prescription, prescribers can track patients’ compliance with their prescriptions, allowing doctors to provide advice to patients on medication management as needed. To monitor potential drug abuse, prescribers can also monitor how often controlled substance prescriptions are completed.
- Pharmacy staff spend less time on the phone confirming orders
The time that pharmacy staff would otherwise spend calling prescribers to confirm orders would be saved if prescriptions were properly prepared. Numerous medications are offered in different dosages, strengths, and formats. Prescribers are encouraged to provide the necessary information for the prescription using the drop-down options provided by the e-prescribing software. Many e-prescribing software programs use common drug dictionaries and certain fields must be filled in before an order can be submitted.
- Increase medicine adherence
Up to half of all medicines are not taken as directed and up to one in five prescriptions are never filled. Common examples of nonadherence include taking less than recommended, not completing the entire therapy, and not understanding prescription instructions. According to studies, e-prescribing reduces this problem by up to 10% by improving first-fill compliance.
How NewCrop can Help Comply with EPCS Mandates
You don’t want your business to be left behind in a rapidly evolving regulatory environment. By ensuring you’re able to generate and transmit electronic prescriptions, you can continue to treat patients at the highest level of care while complying with all regulations. As an award-winning provider of electronic prescribing services, NewCrop Rx has the solutions to help make the prescribing process efficient. We can help you connect data from different sources at every stage of the process, which streamlines workflow, facilitates medication reconciliation, and supports medication adherence. Contact NewCrop today to learn more about how our solutions can integrate into your practice to help you do what you do best.