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    Kenneth T. Hertz
    Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE

    This week’s MGMA Stat poll asked the question, “Does your group prescribe controlled substances electronically?” Overwhelmingly, 60% of the groups responding said no, and 24% of respondents indicated that they were using electronic prescribing for controlled substances. While 24% is significantly higher than the national average of around 7%, we still have a long way to go with ePrescribing in general.

    The benefits of EPCS are many. Improved security, better workflow, reduction in opioid abuse and better record keeping – just to name a few.

    The process to deploy EPCS in your practice is complex, but not difficult. The steps are detailed and specific, and clearly articulated:

    • Ensure that your EHR is both certified and approved for EPCS.
    • Ensure that you’ve met the requirements for Identity Proofing: proving a person is who she says she is.
    • Ensure that you’ve met the requirements for two-factor authentication. Examples of two-factor authentication include your ATM card and your PIN or your thumbprint and a PIN number. This allows for increased security and accountability, and at the same time, ease of access.

    Practices engaged in EPCS identified doctor support of the process, improved security and patient safety, improved documentation, state requirements, and better workflow as reasons for deploying EPCS.

    Reasons for not engaging in EPCS included: “EHR doesn’t have the capacity,” “The cost is too high,” “Our local pharmacies don’t support it’” and “We are still on paper charting.”

    A large number of respondents also answered that they weren’t using EPCS because it is not legal in their state, but as of August 28, 2015 – when Vermont became the last state to approve EPCS – every state has legalized the electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

    Check with your EHR vendor if you have questions regarding your system’s capabilities. Engage with third party resources to assist in the development of identify proofing and two-factor authentication. There are numerous resources to assist your practice with moving into EPCS. Take advantage of them.


    Our ability at MGMA to provide great resources, education and advocacy depends on a strong feedback loop with healthcare leaders. To be part of this effort, sign up for MGMA Stat and make your voice heard in our weekly polls. Sign up by texting “STAT” to 33550 or visit Polls will be sent to your phone via text message.

    Need professional assistance understanding your options for contracting? MGMA Consulting can help identify actionable solutions tailored for your organization.

    Kenneth T. Hertz

    Written By

    Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE

    Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, has held numerous leadership positions in small and large healthcare organizations in primary care, multispecialty care and large integrated systems. 

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