E-Prescribing for Controlled Substances: Will It Work?

Aaron Gilson, PhD, MSSW


March 14, 2011

In This Article

Will Clinicians Embrace It?

Overall, the new regulatory requirements reinforce practitioners' responsibilities for the security of their credentialing information and the transmission system and procedures, including the rapid reporting of identified breaches. Practitioners have the same liability when issuing e-prescriptions as they do for paper or verbal prescriptions and are accountable when a prescription does not conform to the law in all essential respects.

At this time, e-prescribing of controlled substances is an option for practitioners and, although permitted by federal law, such requirements also must be adopted into state law before this practice is permissible at the state level. Although the DEA has estimated annual implementation rates,[3] the technologic and authentication requirements may be enough to deter many practitioners from an elaborate prescribing process that is, as yet, completely voluntary. Only time will tell whether practitioners will ultimately embrace e-prescribing of controlled substances, particularly with respect to opioid therapy for treating chronic pain.


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