E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances
E-Prescribing of controlled substances streamlines workflows for prescribers and pharmacies and improves the safety and efficiency of a process relied upon by millions.
Processing prescriptions for controlled substances outside of electronic fulfillment creates a dual work stream for physicians.
Surescripts has upgraded its nationwide network to support Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS). With this capability expansion, Surescripts creates a pathway for physicians, in states in which it is allowed, to manage all their prescriptions within the electronic workflow, no longer having to prescribe controlled substances using separate methods of paper, phone, and fax. Select a menu item below to learn more or download our EPCS Overview Sheet.
Collaborating with Pharmacies and Software
Surescripts is committed to enabling and optimizing the EPCS process for pharmacies, software vendors and prescribers. We have gained valued and necessary experience to support the industry's efforts to move forward with EPCS, in states where it is approved. To date, there are several EPCS certified and audited pharmacies, and pharmacy and prescriber software vendors on the Surescripts network. Looking forward, Surescripts will continue to monitor the EPCS process to assure quality, security and safety across the network. We invite participants that currently use Surescripts for their e-prescribing services, as well as new vendors, to become enabled for EPCS.
Commitment to Quality
Surescripts provides a safe and secure EPCS experience. Only Surescripts certified and third-party audited application vendors and pharmacies may communicate EPCS transactions. This helps to assure that a consistent and reliable level of delivery is in place.
The DEA Interim Final Rule (IFR) eliminates a final major
barrier in total electronic prescribing. Through
collaboration with pharmacies and software vendors, Surescripts has
laid a foundation for network support that will optimize the EPCS
experience. However, to send controlled substances electronically,
participants (e.g., prescriber software vendors, pharmacies,
pharmacy software vendors) must take steps to meet DEA
- Update e-prescribing software to meet all requirements specified in the IFR and SCRIPT messaging that supports EPCS
- Undergo a third-party audit to ensure the software meets all DEA EPCS requirements
- Achieve Surescripts Certification
- Make audit results available to Surescripts along with a completed Surescripts EPCS Audit Attestation Form
If your prescriber or pharmacy software is already certified by Surescripts for e-prescribing, simply contact your Alliances representative to discuss a plan for EPCS certification.
Pharmacies must apply updates to their software systems to
ensure DEA and Surescripts NCPDP SCRIPT adherence for EPCS.
New to Surescripts?
Software application vendors and pharmacies not currently certified by Surescripts for core e-prescribing services must have contracts in place with Surescripts before certification can begin. Click here to be contacted about Surescripts certification.
Healthcare providers who wish to send prescriptions for controlled substances electronically should take the following steps:
- Verify EPCS is legal in your state*
- Ensure that your e-prescribing software is Surescripts certified
- Receive an audit report generated by your software vendor indicating compliance with the IFR
- Adhere to new ID verification procedures and access controls: ID Proofing, Two Factor Authentication, Digital Signing
*Disclaimer: This does not constitute legal advice. Prescribers should consult an attorney to ensure that EPCS is permitted in their state.
Click on the link below to review the regulatory status of e-prescribing for controlled substances in your state.
The following prescriber software vendors have products that have achieved Surescripts certification and completed their third-party audits for e-prescribing of controlled substances:
- Cerner Corporation
- Glenwood Systems
- MD Toolbox
- Stratus EMR
* Additional EHR solutions are able to transmit EPCS transactions over the Surescripts network through their use of DrFirst and NewCrop as the e-prescribing application. Click here to see a comprehensive certification status for all prescriber software vendors.
The following pharmacies and pharmacy software vendors have completed Surescripts certification and their third-party audits for e-prescribing of controlled substances:
- Cerner Etreby
- Express Scripts
- H E B Pharmacy
- McKesson Pharmacy Systems (EnterpriseRx, Zadall)
- Rite Aid
DEA IFR: The Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled
Interim Final Rule (IFR) officially published as: The Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances, Final Rule; 21 CFR Parts 1300, 1304, 1306, and 1311; Docket No. DEA-218; RIN 1117-AA61
- Published March, 2010
- Became effective June 1, 2010
- IFR can be found at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-6687.pdf
The rule outlines requirements that are descriptive of the outcomes that the DEA wants to achieve. This is not a technical implementation specification. They have been very prescriptive around security requirements, but leave the actual implementation up to the applications and the auditors to determine how to be compliant, and meet their user needs.
DEA: Questions and Answers for Providers of Electronic Prescription Applications, Pharmacy Applications, and Intermediaries
The DEA has provided a website to address:
"questions and answers [on the site] are intended to summarize and provide information for electronic prescription application providers (including electronic health record application providers), pharmacy application providers, and intermediaries regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Interim Final Rule with Request for Comment "Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances" (75 FR 16236, March 31, 2010) [Docket No. DEA-218, RIN 1117-AA61]. The information [on this webpage] is not intended to convey specific information about every aspect of the rule, nor is it a substitute for the regulations themselves."
DEA: Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances Clarification
The DEA published clarification on the Third Party Audits was published as: Drug Enforcement Administration 21 CFR Parts 1300, 1304, 1306 and 1311; Docket No. DEA-360.
- Published October 7, 2011
- Document can be found at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-19/pdf/2011-26738.pdf
Surescripts comments on the DEA EPCS IFR:
Surescripts EPCS Update to State Boards of
The following memo was sent to State Boards of Pharmacy, State Controlled Substance Agencies, and State and National Pharmacy Organizations as an update on industry progress in implementing electronic prescribing for controlled substances.