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DEA to remove e-prescribing ban on controlled substances
e-Reports, May 3, 2010
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You may soon be able to use your computer to prescribe Schedule II-V drugs
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued an interim final rule in the March 31 Federal Register to allow physicians to issue paperless prescriptions for controlled substances. The rule has provisions to maintain safeguards while reducing errors.

The effective date of the new rule will be June 1. However, the rule is currently under Congressional review and the DEA is seeking public comment on some issues through June 1. So, the effective date could change or the rule could even be terminated. According to DEA estimates, more than 10 percent of all prescriptions are written for Schedule II-V drugs.

The federal Controlled Substances Act currently only allows controlled substances to be dispensed pursuant to a written prescription and sometimes via oral prescription.

ISMA Reports will keep you updated on this issue.

Study shows errors go down when physicians use electronic prescribing

Some specialty societies and others have been advocating for the physicians’ right to e-prescribe any medication – including controlled substances. A recent study by Weill Cornell Medical College and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (Feb. 26, 2010) highlights the reason why.

Researchers there found that health care providers using an electronic system to write prescriptions were seven times less likely to make errors than those writing their prescriptions by hand. The study was conducted among community providers in solo and small group practices using mostly handwritten prescriptions.

“We found nearly two in five handwritten prescriptions in these community practices had errors, says Rainu Kaushal, M.D., the study’s lead author and professor of pediatrics, medicine and public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Examples of the types of errors we found included incomplete directions and prescribing a medication but omitting the quantity. A small number of errors were more serious, such as prescribing incorrect dosages.”

For more information about the study, see here.

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