It has been 10 years since the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) first permitted the use of electronic prescribing of controlled substances.
Since then, many physicians have upgraded their e-prescribing software, opting to forgo the triplicate prescription pads needed to prescribe controlled substances manually.
On April 21, DEA and the Department of Justice posted an interim final rule and asked for comments on specific issues related to the technology and use of e-prescribing.
The Texas Medical Association in June submitted comments urging DEA to consider physician workflow and widely available technologies when exploring any changes to the program.
Specifically, TMA asked DEA to push e-prescribing vendors to ensure their systems provide information about drug costs and about whether a prescription is available at a patient’s pharmacy.
“Ideally, patients should have the ability to comparison shop electronically for their medications and have the prescription directed to their chosen pharmacy after they have evaluated factors such as price, availability, and distance,” TMA’s letter says. “TMA realizes DEA has little to no control of these factors and that strides are being made to deliver this information, but this is mentioned for awareness so that any advances in (e-prescribing) can be made in a way that supports these goals.”
TMA’s letter also calls on DEA to make two-factor authentication – the multi-step identification verification process – less of a strain on physicians’ time and finances.
“TMA recognizes the need for two-factor authentication but encourages DEA to consider the use of systems that minimize the number of times physicians need to enter their two factors,” TMA’s letter says.
The letter also urges DEA not to limit the types of devices that physicians can use to access e-prescribing software – including mobile devices.
As a reminder, effective Jan. 1, e-prescribing for all controlled substances is required in Texas unless a waiver is granted. For additional information on e-prescribing visit TMA’s online resource center.
If you have questions about e-prescribing or other office technologies, contact TMA’s HIT department at (800) 880-5720 or via email.