Columbia University Medical Center

EPCS Transmission Rates On the Upswing

bull's eye graphicThe successful rollout of the Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) system continues.

In the beta test of EPCS, the faculty practice worked closely with clinicians to eliminate transmission failures, which were a frequently reported issue at the outset. Currently, the rate has dropped to less than 3 percent. “This is a major success for the FPO, but we will keep working to make it as rare as possible,” said Timothy J. Crimmins, MD, RPVI, chief medical informatics officer.

The state has now clarified its requirements for the use of paper or verbal orders. Clinicians issuing verbal or paper prescriptions must notify the Department of Health by email:

The notification must cite the reason that EPCS cannot be used (technical or clinical), and include the following information:

  • That it is a notification to DOH pursuant to Public Health Law Section 281(4) or (5)
  • Practitioner’s name
  • Practitioner’s license number
  • Practitioner’s telephone number
  • Practitioner’s preferred work e-mail address
  • Practitioner’s work address
  • Patient initials only — do not send any PHI in these communications

The reason(s) for the exception(s), including the citation(s) to PHL Section(s) 281(3) (b) temporary technological failure, (d) a situation in which obtaining medications prescribed electronically would cause a delay that would adversely affect the patient’s medical condition and (e) a prescription to be filled outside New York state.

For more information about EPCS, visit the ColumbiaDoctors intranet.