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Several prescription medication bottles placed on top of a tablet device that is on a table

Why You Should Prepare for EPCS Now

If you’ve reviewed your state regulations and identified waivers or exemptions that you can apply for, you may be at a standstill wondering why you should even worry about EPCS before the regulation comes into effect.

Implementing EPCS is intended to reduce controlled substance abuse, but there are other benefits for senior care providers and residents. Many don’t realize that the preparations for EPCS can help with all prescribing workflows now.

EPCS for the senior care provider = greater efficiency

Today, Long Term Care prescribers and staff spend more time on the phone and reviewing and preparing faxes than ever before. These steps consume time, reduce efficiency, and can delay care. Every delay is felt on both sides, pharmacy and facility.

Electronic transmissions from within your EHR and enabled mobile devices save time by providing automated, standardized ordering, improving the prescribing experience. It also eliminates illegible scripts. Only discrete, standardized data fields are exchanged, which means clean and clear information is received at the pharmacy. This ensures better processing for all medications, reducing errors, and the potential for misreading or misinterpreting dosage or Sig instructions.

Reduced risk factors caused by paper and fax

Believe it or not, fax machines are still heavily used for prescribing. Not only can the fax be a multi-step process for the prescriber and staff (create the order, retype the order on paper, fax the order, follow up on the order, resend the order, etc.,) fax presents other risks.  

Fax dependency can also represent a patient privacy issue. Stories of faxes with personal information like birthdates and social security numbers erroneously ending up in the hands of the wrong recipient is nothing new, and most times senders don’t know that data could be sitting in a misdirected fax bin. Not only does that put the patient’s sensitive data in the hands of someone that might take advantage, but it can also be considered a HIPAA breach. The risks of allowing patient information to be sent to the wrong recipients can be a costly to any provider. Automating that function ensures that data is only exchanged with the intended recipient in a form that is easily consumed and acted upon.

A misdirected fax can also have a negative impact on patients as it means that critical information is now lost and not getting where it needs to go in a timely manner, further delaying medications, treatment, and care.

Lower forgery, fraud, and other controlled substance abuses

Of course, the main touted benefit for EPCS is the ability to better manage the prescribing and use of controlled substances. This functionality is designed to provide not only a layer of PHI protection, but also ensures that the script order is from a valid and authorized prescriber. 

However, some providers are wary about the time needed for extra security steps for dual authentication. Two-factor authentication is required by the DEA rules and some form of this is therefore common to all EPCS applications.  

While it appears that the token may add a step to the workflow, the use of the application plus token replaces the triplicate form, wet signature, the potential for multiple faxes, and follow up steps and errors. The benefits of processing and improving accuracy can far outweigh any concerns about learning a new workflow using tokens.

Finally, when you couple automated EHR systems with advanced EPCS capabilities, and the additional capabilities of an automated and integrated medication management system, you will ensure that what is prescribed will be the same as what is dispensed. This can reduce phone call follow up with the pharmacy, errors, and risk.  

To learn more about how PointClickCare can help enable EPCS and not only improve controlled substance management, but also ensure that all medication management workflow is more efficient and leads to better resident experience and health

August 6, 2021