May 03, 2018

EPCS Legislation Shows Power and Promise

According to recent research from the IQVIA Institute, the number of opioid prescriptions in the U.S. fell 10.2% in 2017 compared to 2016. At the same time, lawmakers are taking aim at the opioid epidemic by ramping up legislation that mandates Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS). 

EPCS is a critical tool in the nation's response to the opioid epidemic. It eliminates paper prescriptions that can be stolen or forged and gives prescribers electronic access to a patient’s prescription history to help identify potential overuse or abuse. There are other benefits as well, including enhanced security and privacy, and improved workflow efficiency for prescribers and pharmacists alike.  

A handful of states have already mandated the use of e-prescribing in general or EPCS for opioids and other controlled substances, including Minnesota, New York, Maine and Connecticut, where mandates are currently in effect.  The latter three states saw a dramatic uptick in the number of prescribers enabled to use the technology as the effective dates of each respective law approached. Minnesota does not have specific penalties for non-compliance, therefore the rate of increase in prescriber enablement for EPCS has been less dramatic.

EPCS state policy update

 

Several other states have passed EPCS legislation that will go into effect during the next two years, including Arizona, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Virginia. It is likely that these states will also see a rapid increase in the number of EPCS users as their deadlines for implementation draw near.

And there’s more good news: the EPCS movement continues to gain momentum. Another 14 states have had legislation introduced, and about half of these bills will likely pass this year. Check out our interactive map (updated monthly) to see where each state stands in terms of EPCS enablement for both prescribers and pharmacies as well as any relevant policy developments.

2018_EPCS-interactive-map

In addition to EPCS, Surescripts has several solutions that can help combat the opioid epidemic. Our Medication History solutions enable prescribers to see which medications patients have received and if they’ve been prescribed opioids in the past. Record Locator & Exchange allows prescribers to quickly identify any care patterns that might impact the decision to prescribe opioids, while Clinical Direct Messaging lets them contact other clinicians for more information on any red flags they observe. If a prescriber decides opioids are the right treatment option, Insights for Medication Adherence enables them to see if the prescription is being taken as intended.

Be sure to subscribe to Intelligence in Action so you don’t miss future EPCS policy updates.


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October 24, 2018

Surescripts Applauds New Law to Drive Adoption of Technology to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Surescripts commends Congress for passing and President Trump for signing H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act into law on October 24, 2018. This law will support the broader adoption of existing technology that can help deter prescription fraud, diversion and abuse. Today marks a major milestone in our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and save lives. Read more...

July 05, 2018

Key Technologies for Fighting Opioid Misuse are Gaining Traction

The statistics are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the opioid epidemic now takes more lives in the U.S. than breast cancer. In addition, American life expectancy at birth declined for the second consecutive year in 2016 due to a dramatic 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses. Our nation has not experienced a two-year consecutive decline in life expectancy since the early 1960s as a result of an influenza epidemic. Even the worst mortality rate of the AIDS epidemic in 1993 caused American life expectancy to drop for just one year. Read more...

July 02, 2018

Maine Required E-Prescribing for Opioids Last Year—and the Results Are In

This time last year, Maine implemented legislation that requires electronic prescribing for opioids. At the time, Maine ranked 25th in the nation based on prescriber and pharmacist enablement and utilization of the technology, known as E-Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS). Now the state is ranked third in the nation, with virtually all its pharmacies and more than half of all its prescribers enabled for the technology as of May 2018. New York leads the nation, having implemented a legislative requirement in 2016 that requires all prescriptions to be delivered electronically, including controlled substances. Read more...

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