ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - September 12, 2011) - Surescripts today announced that it has upgraded its nationwide network to support electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). In addition to its deployment of the network upgrade, Surescripts has begun its initial certification of prescriber software vendors and pharmacy applications for EPCS. Certified vendors and pharmacies have, in turn, begun the initial deployment of EPCS in the United States. The deployment involves a select number of certified and audited vendors and their users located in states where EPCS is legal.
The announcement represents an important step in the industrywide collaboration between pharmacies, technology vendors, pharmacy benefit managers, Surescripts and other networks to plan and implement support for U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and state pharmacy board rules.
For this initial deployment of EPCS, Surescripts is actively monitoring the end-to-end characteristics of EPCS usage. Aspects such as physician credentialing, workflows, processing times, quality and others are being actively monitored across the Surescripts network as well as for participating vendors, prescribers and pharmacies. At the completion of this initial monitoring period, which currently is planned to end later this year, Surescripts will make EPCS support available to all appropriately certified participants.
All software vendors and pharmacies must complete Surescripts certification and DEA-required third-party audits before connecting to the Surescripts network for EPCS. Surescripts will be supporting both of the DEA-recognized approaches to securely signing a prescription -- i.e., supporting both public key infrastructure and the indication of a signing "flag." By establishing a framework by which prescribers can electronically prescribe controlled substances, the DEA provided a path for prescribers to manage all their prescriptions within an electronic workflow, rather than separate paper-, telephone- and fax-based methods for controlled substances and electronic processes for all other medications.
In order to electronically prescribe controlled substances, some of the major DEA requirements prescribers must adhere to include:
- Use of an e-prescribing application that is certified for this purpose.
- Completion of a compliant identity-proofing process.
- Use of a secure, two-factor authentication process to sign prescriptions for controlled substances.
The Surescripts network supports the most comprehensive ecosystem of healthcare organizations nationwide. Pharmacies, payers, pharmacy benefit managers, physicians, hospitals, health information exchanges and health technology firms rely on Surescripts to more easily and securely share health information. Guided by the principles of neutrality, transparency, physician and patient choice, open standards, collaboration and privacy, Surescripts operates the nation's largest health information network. By providing information for routine, recurring and emergency care, Surescripts is committed to saving lives, improving efficiency and reducing the cost of health care for all. For more information, go to
www.surescripts.com and follow us at twitter.com/surescripts.