January 2018

Surescripts Supports the AMA’s Work to Reduce Barriers to EPCS

The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest association of physicians and medical students, is working to reduce barriers to the implementation of electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), as stated at its 2017 AMA Interim Meeting in Honolulu.

Surescripts believes that EPCS is a critical tool for combatting the opioid epidemic, so we strongly support the AMA’s desire to reduce regulatory burdens that prevent greater EPCS adoption.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulation that allowed EPCS took effect in 2010. Since then, we’ve seen a substantial uptick in adoption. In 2016 alone, the number of e-prescriptions for controlled substances transmitted via the Surescripts network increased 256%. Still, we have a long way to go. Today, only 14 percent of controlled substances are prescribed electronically, compared to 90 percent of non-scheduled prescription drugs.

The AMA modified a number of current policies related to EPCS, e-prescribing and regulatory guidelines at its recent House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, with the intent to streamline EPCS implementation and use.

The AMA’s HOD noted that the AMA will (1) continue to advocate before state and federal agencies and legislative bodies for the elimination of cumbersome requirements relating to EPCS, (2) encourage the DEA to “support two-factor authentication that is easier to implement than current DEA and EPCS requirements,” (3) work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove or reduce barriers to e-prescribing of both controlled substances and non-scheduled prescription drugs and (4) work to substantially reduce regulatory burdens so that physicians may successfully submit EPCS.

Prescribers interested in learning more about how to start utilizing EPCS can view step-by-step videos and other resources at www.GetEPCS.com.

As the nation’s most trusted and capable health information network, we applaud the AMA’s work to address these critical challenges. One hundred and sixteen Americans die each and every day from opioid related drug overdoses. There’s no time to lose.

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