ROCKVILLE, Md. & MANCHESTER, Me.–The Maine Medical Association (MMA) has selected DrFirst software as its recommended e-prescribing solution in the run-up to the July 1, 2017 legal deadline set by the state in requiring the electronic prescribing of opioid medications.
DrFirst, a pioneer in providing e-prescribing solutions for both legend drugs and controlled substances, is one of a select handful of vendors that meet federal regulatory requirements for electronically sending controlled substance prescriptions to pharmacies.
The company’s Rcopia and EPCS Gold solutions have been growing in all 50 states. They have been widely deployed in New York, following that state’s landmark move, effective March 27, 2017 to require that all prescriptions — including those for controlled substances — be transmitted electronically. In December 2014, the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) selected DrFirst as its official e-prescribing solution.
Now Maine’s statewide medical association – a non-profit organization that advocates for the interests of Maine physicians and their patients — is following in MSSNY’s footsteps in a trend that is likely to expand nationwide as states grapple with the growing opioid-abuse crisis.
MMA’s exclusive endorsement last week of DrFirst’s Rcopia and EPCS (E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances) platform will result in DrFirst marketing its products to MMA members in partnership with the association. Maine’s mandate requiring the electronic prescription of opioid medications – an “Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substance Prescription Monitoring Program” – was signed into law in April 2016. The bill also mandates prescriber participation in the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), sets limits for the strength and duration of opioid prescriptions and requires that prescribers undergo addiction training every two years.
“It’s critical that we address the growing opioid crisis in our country, and we believe moving opioid prescribing into a more controllable and auditable electronic environment is important to helping address this issue,” said Gordon Smith, executive vice president of the MMA.
“Having researched the best, most practical e-prescribing systems available to Maine providers — and having seen DrFirst’s success working with providers in New York — we made the decision to officially endorse DrFirst and to work closely with them to ensure that MMA members needing this capability enjoy rapid access and customer support from this leading e-medication management company,” Smith added.
“We are extremely pleased to have been selected as the MMA’s exclusive partner for EPCS,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. “We believe that providers and patients in Maine will be well served by our platform based on our extensive experience working with physicians and health systems in New York during the implementation of the I-STOP program in that first-mover state.”
“Having recently gone through the similarly-legislated experience in New York, we’ve honed our customer experience services nationwide to include increased educational support for doctors and staff unfamiliar with e-prescribing, as well as white-glove support to help prescribers successfully complete the identity-proofing process required by the DEA,” Deemer continued. “We are committed to helping ensure that Maine’s transition to electronic prescribing is as seamless and painless as possible.”
MSSNY’s decision to search for, evaluate and officially endorse an e-prescribing vendor was spurred by the New York Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing (I-STOP) legislation, which mandated that all patient medications be e-prescribed from March 27, 2016.
The I-STOP mandate was put in place by New York state legislators to help mitigate prescription drug over-use and abuse, which has risen to epidemic levels nationwide. E-prescribing software has long been proven to provide substantial benefits to doctors and their patients, and has most recently been recognized as an effective way (as in the case with Maine’s PMP) to reduce drug diversion and “doctor shopping,” which are leading causes of the misuse of high profile narcotics, such as hydrocodone drug combinations.
Many doctors are familiar with legend drug e-prescribing, but far fewer have experience with controlled substance e-prescribing. However, according to a recently published survey by Surescripts and confirmed by data trends from DrFirst, EPCS grew more than 600 percent between 2014 and 2015. This striking increase is likely a result of growing general awareness of the benefits of EPCS as well as the growth in the number of pharmacies that are EPCS-enabled.
“Currently, more than 55,000 doctors use our e-prescribing and e-medication management solutions to improve patient safety and enhance clinical outcomes,” added DrFirst’s Deemer. “We believe that providers are more likely to make a more informed decision when they have the right data at the right time. This is especially true for prescribing controlled substances, like OxyContin.”
Dr. Thomas Sullivan, DrFirst’s chief privacy and strategic officer, observed,: “In the most recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), opioids were involved in over 28,000 deaths in 2014 nationwide and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 2000. Of the 14 states the CDC identified as having a ‘statistically significant’ increase in opioid abuse deaths between 2013 and 2014, three – Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire – are in New England.”
Sullivan, the former chair, Council on Medical Service of the American Medical Association, added, “At the end of the day, adopting EPCS achieves two goals: addressing the opioid epidemic and pursuing patient safety. E-prescribing allows patients and doctors to better guard against medication errors, such as drug-to-drug interactions, and it reduces common errors inherent in paper-based prescribing, including illegible handwriting, misinterpreted abbreviations and unclear dosages – and it’s much more convenient for patients.”
The MMA-endorsed software includes DrFirst’s Rcopia® legend drug e-prescribing and DrFirst’s EPCS Gold controlled substance e-prescribing platforms, packaged for MMA as a seamless, stand-alone solution. Providers using Rcopia and EPCS Gold will be able to e-prescribe legend drugs and controlled substances within a single workflow. The software will also support doctors with real-time prescription monitoring, instant access to medication histories for their patients, patient-specific formulary data, and clinical alerts such as drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction warnings. DrFirst will guide MMA members through the identity proofing and authentication processes that are required by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to allow a doctor to prescribe controlled substances electronically. The e-prescribing software also includes DrFirst’s Patient AdvisorSM service, which helps doctors monitor and improve patient adherence to medication therapy, and allows doctors and their staff to process and complete medication prior authorizations electronically, right within the e-prescribing workflow.
DrFirst pioneers technology solutions that inform the doctor-patient point of encounter, optimizing provider access to patient information, enhancing the doctor’s clinical view of the patient, and improving care delivery and clinical outcomes. Our growth is driven by a commitment to innovation, security, and reliability across a wide array of services, including Medication Management, Medication Adherence, and Secure Communication and Collaboration. We are proud of our track record of service to more than 320 EMR/EHR/HIS vendors and an extensive network of providers, hospitals and patients. For more information, please visit www.drfirst.com.