What is Electronic Prescribing?
Electronic prescribing also known as “e-Prescribing” or “eRx” is the ability for health care providers to enter prescription information into a computer device (such as a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer)
and securely transmit the prescription to pharmacies using a special software program and connectivity to a transmission network. When a pharmacy receives a request, it can begin filling the medication right away.
The Benefits of e-Prescribing:
- Help improve health care quality and patient safety by reducing medication errors and checking for drug interactions.
- Make care more convenient by allowing providers to electronically request prescription refills.
What is e-Prescribing of Controlled Substances?
Electronic prescription of controlled substances or EPCS is a more secure form of prescription delivery and can help reduce controlled substance abuse caused by stolen prescription forms. EPCS differs from regular e-prescribing in that a physician must undergo an authentication process before using the technology and when ordering each EPCS. Authentication involves the physician providing a PIN number, an iris scan or thumb print, or using a device or card. Physicians can delegate EPCS or EPCS renewals to other clinical staff to complete all of the required information and then review, sign, and authorize the transmission of the prescription themselves.
What Am I Required to Do?
Starting on Jan. 1, 2021 HB 2174
requires electronic prescribing of all controlled substances (CII–CV) by all Texas physicians, unless a waiver is granted. The requirement coincides with Medicare’s electronic prescription requirement which also begins on Jan. 1, 2021.
The Medicare eRx requirement is specific to any prescription for a covered part D drug under a prescription drug plan (or under a Medicare Advantage –PD plan) for a schedule II, III, IV, or V controlled substance.
As an additional reminder that beginning on March 1, 2020, prescribers and pharmacists are required to check the patient's Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) history prior to issuing or dispensing a new or refill prescription for an opioid, benzodiazepine, barbiturate, or carisoprodol. For more information on this requirement please visit the Texas PMP website
How Do I Meet These Requirements?
Physicians will need to have the ability to e-prescribe controlled substances either through their EHR or via a standalone eRx product. To e-prescribe through an EHR platform physicians must check with their EHR vendor to ensure the functionality is activated (this may require an added cost to activate).
Additionally, EPCS is typically a separate function from traditional e-prescribing therefore physicians must request that this be an added feature as well, which will most likely be another added cost.
If you do not have an EHR, your EHR does not have eRx and/or EPCS functionality, or the cost of adding the functionality to your current EHR is too expensive, physicians can purchase standalone eRx products that work independent of your EHR/practice management system. Find standalone eRx software products by browsing Surescripts certified provider software
, be sure to focus your search “Standalone eRx”. This search function also identifies which software has EPCS capabilities.
You may also choose to focus your search by EPCS capability which will list all products with the ability to prescribe controlled substances (both EHR and standalone software)