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Prescribing controlled substances is as easy or difficult as you want to make it.
Three years ago, when my group of nine family doctors considered starting electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), a healthy debate ensued on the pros and cons of the new workflow. On one hand, we had the advancing technology, which streamlined processes, resulted in less paper, and provided easy access for patients. On the other hand, we had concerns that an easier process for patients and doctors might enhance abuse and overuse and reduce oversight.
Indeed, the Texas legislature and medical board recognized these concerns from doctors across the state and focused on using technology for tracking and improving accountability when it came to e-prescribing controlled substances. They focused on technology use to reduce illicit use, redirection, and the rising number of prescription drug deaths in our state. They have been successful in meeting these goals with electronic prescribing of controlled substances, so our practice decided to move forward.
To summarize our experience with electronic prescribing of controlled substances:
After three years, electronic prescribing of controlled substances is a huge win for our practice. In the course of talking with other physicians, there is a natural trepidation about the change, particularly because there is so much additional responsibility we as physicians feel about prescribing controlled substances. Although it is entirely right for physicians to question and verify the electronic process before proceeding, this is a change which has turned out to be very good.
Dr. Eric Weidmann is a Chief Medical Officer for CompuGroup Medical and a practicing physician.