MLHS using e-prescribing for controlled substances

April 13, 2020

Mille Lacs Health System, as of April 1, 2020, is now fully implementing an Electronic Prescription for Controlled Substances (EPCS) program will all medical providers.

In 2010, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) legalized the use of Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances (EPCS) to help deter the rising prescription drug abuse problem in the United States.

EPCS technology is helping address the issue of stolen prescriptions by requiring prescriber authentication, heightened security standards, and actively auditing the EPCS platforms. Any prescription drug that has the potential for abuse or dependence is a controlled substance. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) regulates these drugs.

EPCS is a technology solution that allows clinicians to write and transmit controlled substance prescriptions electronically. In addition, pharmacies can receive, dispense and archive the electronic prescriptions.

Electronic prescribing of controlled substances is now allowed in every state in the U.S., including Washington, D.C. While e-prescribing is now the preferred method of prescribing medications among the vast majority of prescribers, adoption of e-prescribing for controlled substances has been slow due to implementation complexities.

“But this spring, all the Mille Lacs Health System medical providers will be using this system to prescribe medications called controlled substances,” said Dr. Cathy Donovan, Family Practice Physician at MLHS.

The benefits of EPCS are increased convenience and security for prescribers, and improved individual and population health from use of EPCS rather than paper prescriptions.

How does it work? A patient sees their provider at a clinic visit (or in the course of other types of care) and receives instructions about taking the prescription. However, whereas the provider used to give a paper copy to the patient, now that prescription can be electronically transmitted to their pharmacy.

If you want to know how your own pharmacy will communicate to you about your prescriptions, give them a call.