5 ways to get more value from electronic prescribing

5 ways to get more value from electronic prescribing

Electronic prescribing rates are on the rise, with more than 70 percent of physicians having completed at least one e-prescription in 2014, the most recent full-year data available. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has cleared the way for more e-prescriptions of Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances with implementation of the Electronically Prescribed Controlled Substances (EPCS) interim final rule.

However, many physicians are still unaware the EPCS is legal in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. As a result, electronic prescribing of controlled substances has been slow to catch on. As of November 2015, just 5 percent of electronic prescribers were EPCS also enabled, DrFirst’s Rcopia e-prescribing database shows.

E-prescribing has many advantages. It significantly reduces risks associated with medication and prescribing errors, increases the overall rates at which prescriptions are filled and helps physicians better manage the overall care of the patient. To realize these and many other benefits, prescribers must adhere to certain best practices.


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The following are five best practices for maximizing the benefits of electronic prescribing best:

  • Verify patient information: Have a policy to verify with the patient that the correct information is being populated. Doing this will also act as a potential defense against doctor shopping for controlled substances, if the patient is misrepresenting his or her identity. Verify current address information as well. 
  • Verify the pharmacy where the prescription will be picked up: Be sure to also ask the patient to provide a back-up pharmacy, in case the patient’s preferred pharmacy can’t fill a particular prescription. This increases efficiency by ensuring the prescription goes to the right pharmacy. It’s especially critical when the patient has recently moved.

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  • Use tools for prescription history: States building registries to track controlled substance e-prescription history, such as New York, are doing a better job at keeping the information updated in real time. When your e-prescribing system is able to tap into these tools facilitated by the EPCS law, it’s a huge resource to prevent doctor shopping by patients and manage the flow of controlled substances being prescribed by the doctor. With the DEA still cracking down on doctors who overprescribe controlled substances, this is a huge protection for the physician and the practice. 
  • Use clinical decision support and heed the alerts: DrFirst’s Rcopia e-prescribing system provides critical clinical alerts, which helps reduce prescription errors and adverse drug reactions. This functionality should be enabled, and by policy physicians should be trained to always read these alerts, and not dismiss them reflexively. 
  • Educate your patients: The switch to e-prescribing is a change for the patient as well. Make sure your patients see the patient-centric benefits, such as automatic transmission of the prescription to the pharmacy for faster availability, better validation of insurance coverage and costs for the prescribed drugs and more robust tracking of the patient’s prescription history to ensure the best care is provided. Develop a handout that explains these patient benefits, or see if one is available from your vendor.


DrFirst offers two market-leading electronic prescribing solutions:

  • RcopiaRcopia® is the leading electronic prescribing, medication history and medication adherence monitoring solution in the industry. More than 300 EHR vendors and 57,000+ providers trust Rcopia by DrFirst to electronically send prescription orders to retail and mail order pharmacies nationwide. Click here to learn more about Rcopia.
  • EPCS Gold: Allows practitioners to send electronic prescriptions for controlled substances to retail or mail order pharmacies within the same workflow used to electronically prescribe legend drugs. EPCS Gold makes prescribing more efficient, helps advance patient medication adherence and increases patient satisfaction by making the process more convenient. Click here to learn more about EPCS Gold.