Report from DrFirst Reveals the Current State of Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances in the U.S.

Report shows nation’s pharmacies are mostly enabled while prescribers
are slow to catch-up

ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DrFirst, a pioneer in electronic prescribing, secure texting and other
healthcare SaaS solutions, today released a report providing an overview
of one of the most valuable tools we have in the fight against the abuse
of opioids and other controlled substances: electronic prescribing of
controlled substances (EPCS).

More than 15 million people in the U.S. abuse prescription drugs
regularly and 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used
prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Each day, 44 people
in the U.S. die due to an overdose of a prescription painkiller.
Accordingly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has declared
prescription painkiller abuse a “national crisis,” and warns that people
who take prescription painkillers can become addicted with just one

EPCS may help curb this abuse by increasing prescription security,
improving patient safety and reducing the practice of “doctor shopping”
to fill unnecessary prescriptions.

The report, “The
Evolving EPCS Landscape 2016: A Prescription for Stopping Opioid Abuse
reveals that a vast majority of our nation’s pharmacies (over 82 percent
of retail pharmacies) are EPCS-enabled and notes that five states –
Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and New York – now
report that more than 90 percent of their pharmacies are EPCS enabled.

However, the report also shows that while there has been a dramatic
increase in number of prescribers who use EPCS, the prescriber community
is still far behind their pharmacy counterparts. On average, only 5.8
percent of all U.S. practitioners are currently EPCS-enabled.

In New York, where the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act
(I-STOP) takes effect March 27, requiring all legend drugs and
controlled substances to be prescribed electronically, a whopping 96
percent of pharmacies are EPCS enabled—the highest EPCS enablement in
the nation—but only 27 percent of the state’s practitioners are enabled
to date.

The DrFirst report shows that there has been some positive movement by
prescribers over the last year to adopt EPCS. Based on information
culled from the more than 250 electronic health record and hospital
information system vendors to which DrFirst provides EPCS functionality,
along with the thousands of practices and physicians who use stand-alone
versions of DrFirst’s software, Rcopia and EPCS Gold, DrFirst calculated
there has been a 274 percent increase in the volume of EPCS
prescriptions in 2015.

Not surprisingly, the state with the largest increase was New York,
which saw a massive 3,225 percent increase in volume of electronic
prescriptions, ahead of the e-prescribing mandate deadline.

“Education for prescribers is key to moving the industry from paper to
electronic prescriptions for controlled substances,” says Peter Kaufman,
MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist who also serves as DrFirst’s
chief medical officer. “For example, credible EPCS technology vendors
can guide doctors through the DEA’s required identity-proofing process
so that EPCS enrollment can be completed in just a few days.”

For more information and to download the white paper, visit

About DrFirst

DrFirst (
pioneers electronic prescribing, secure text messaging and other
healthcare SaaS solutions that inform the doctor-patient point of
encounter, optimize provider access to patient information, enhance the
physician’s clinical view of the patient, and improve care delivery and
clinical outcomes. Our growth is driven by a commitment to innovation,
security and reliability across a wide array of electronic medication
management and HIPAA-compliant, secure communication and collaboration
services. We are proud of our track record of service to more than 330
EMR/EHR/HIS partners and an extensive network of hospitals, post-acute
care facilities, ambulatory practices and pharmacies nationwide.


Wendy Johnson, media relations
231-9510 ext. 1921