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Published on September 12, 2017

NKCH Reduces Controlled Substance Abuse With Electronic Prescriptions

Patrick D. Griffith, MD, a pain management specialist with Pain Source Solutions, acknowledges a password via email on his smartphone

As part of a two-part authentication process for electronically-
prescribed controlled substances, Patrick D. Griffith, MD, a pain
management specialist with the NKCH Pain Clinic and Pain
Source Solutions, acknowledges a password via email on his

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, controlled substances comprise 10%-11% of all prescriptions written in the U.S. With the DEA now allowing electronic prescribing of Schedule II-V drugs, North Kansas City Hospital has implemented e-prescribing of controlled substances.

“The hospital is taking the lead to help reduce diversion of these prescriptions and opioid addiction,” said Chief Medical Information Officer Todd J. Beardman, MD. In addition to combating overdose deaths and forgery, this effort will meet DEA security requirements.

A Simple Process

The requirements involve a two-factor authentication process. For NKCH prescribers, that involves the prescriber’s scanned fingerprint or a password acknowledgement (if the prescriber is remote) and a one-time code to ensure the prescriber is approved to sign and send a controlled substance prescription.

“Once a prescriber’s authentication status is approved, it’s surprisingly simple,” Dr. Beardman said.

The prescription is transferred to Surescripts via the hospital’s EMR system, and then the pharmacy receives an electronic message from Surescripts to fill the prescription.

Patient and Provider Satisfaction

With EPCS, prescribers and staff at NKCH no longer put printed prescriptions in the hands of patients. This not only prevents lost prescriptions, it also avoids pharmacy wait times. Patients simply go to their pharmacy, where their prescription is ready to be picked up.

In addition to improving patient satisfaction through added convenience, Dr. Beardman noted that EPCS aligns with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ requirements for meaningful use and helps reduce prescriber errors.