Potential savings of $53B nationwide
In medicine, nothing has potentially greater impact on patients’ well-being than the prescribing of controlled substances. Done properly, such prescriptions alleviate suffering, promote wellness, and restore health. When mishandled, however, the process can be subject to fraud and abuse that can comprise patient safety.
The approval of electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) in 2010 opened the way to a more seamless and secure method for handling prescriptions.
According to an April 2018 study prepared for the Pharmaceutical Management Care Association, widespread use of EPCS could save the U.S. up to $53 billion annually. The savings would come primarily through reductions of costs associated with the opioid epidemic, as well as improves in worker productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and even time-savings for consumers who currently spend hours at pharmacies.
Implementing a solution in Texas
The providers at Amarillo Medical Specialists, LLP, the largest private, multi-specialty practice in the Texas Panhandle, needed little convincing regarding the merits of EPCS, and working with eClinicalWorks, they have been able to expedite the prescription process and spend more time focusing on the patient visit.
When it comes to EPCS, eClinicalWorks offers practices key advantages over using other solutions. Authorizing providers, for example, can be done remotely through the eClinicalWorks application, with no need to use a third-party credentialing service.
And eClinicalWorks supports EPCS on multiple platforms, via a hard token or app-based process.
Amarillo had used a token-based system for their prescriptions — a major improvement over paper-based methods — but found that the use of tokens was still slowing workflows, because providers had to keep track of the physical tokens.
‘eClinicalWorks does all the work’
Dr. William C. Biggs, Managing Partner and Chief Medical Information Officer, helped lead an effort at AMS to find a better way to handle EPCS. They now use the Authy app, which uses secure, two-factor authorization and lets providers use a smartwatch to approve and transmit prescriptions.
“We simply add the prescription as we normally do for any prescription, but the send process is just a little different,” Dr. Biggs said. “By adding the password, it pushed the request to my watch. Press send, and then eClinicalWorks does all the work in the background.”
Easy, safe, and effective
“I’m maintaining conversation and direct contact with my patient,” said Dr. Ako Bradford, one of AMS’ adult primary care providers. “And many times, it’s seamless enough to where they’re surprised that by the end of the visit, their medication is already waiting for them at the pharmacy.”
“Patients get their medications more rapidly, on time, and it’s a more efficient process,” said Dr. Alan Keister. “There is a lot more regulation about how we do controlled substances, which is a good thing. So, at the end of the day, it allows us to do it in a more efficient way. I can spend more time face-to-face with patients, and less time going through different steps to try and get a prescription sent out.”