E-Prescriptions 101: Why You Need Them & How They Work

You’ve probably seen the news: effective January 2021, more than half of all states require electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). The new legislation is impacting dentists across the country, but most will actually benefit from the shift.

Below, we’ll dig into why EPCS mandates exist, which practices are impacted, and what Practice-Web is doing to ensure you’re compliant while helping your practice thrive.

EPCS Mandates Are Combating the Opioid Epidemic

Historically, providers giving patients opioid prescriptions had to write each one out. In 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) changed its guidelines allowing for them to be electronically transmitted. However, as opioid abuse and overdoses have skyrocketed, there’s been a national movement to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions and create more integrative tracking systems.

Even though dentists only prescribe a very small number of opioids (roughly 6 percent, per the American Dental Association), and typically only prescribe them to patients experiencing acute pain, changes are being applied across the board for all prescribers.

More Than Half of All States Have Active eRx Mandates or Policies in the Works

If any of your patients receive their prescription coverage though Medicare Part D, their plans are expected to leverage EPCS as of January 1, 2021. As a provider, you may be expected to prescribe electronically for these patients regardless of your state too.

Additional state-by-state guidelines that impact how you prescribe are outlined below. Please note that the information provided is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Individuals should contact their attorney to obtain legal advice.

States with Current Electronic Prescription Mandates

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia

States with Mandates Going into Effect January 2021

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Indiana (technically December 31, 2020)
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

States with Mandates Going into Effect April 2021

  • New Mexico

States with Mandates Going into Effect July 2021

States with Mandates Going into Effect January 2022

  • California
  • Maryland
  • Utah

States with Mandates Going into Effect July 2022

E-Prescriptions Are Beneficial to Patients and Practices Alike

Aside from compliance regulation, electronic prescriptions benefit dental offices and their patients in a number of ways.

Addresses Fraud and Abuse

When connected to a larger database that tracks prescriptions, e-prescriptions organically catch issues like fraud, abuse, and “doctor shopping.” Because of this, fewer patients even attempt to circumvent the systems, freeing dentists to focus on those who are genuinely interested in improving their oral health.

Increases Safety

Electronic prescription systems put information at the dentist’s fingertips, so he or she can make informed decisions about what to prescribe and to whom. Additional safety features, such as allergy and interaction alerts, can also be incorporated, adding another layer of protection.

Boosts Efficiency

Dentists can get rid of their prescription pads and save back-and-forth with pharmacies by leveraging eRx systems. The benefits are even greater when the electronic prescription software integrates with the practice management software. Patients may also appreciate that prescriptions are sent directly to their pharmacy, saving them time in line too.

Aids in Social Distancing

Now more than ever, minimizing contact is important to patients and providers. E-prescribing eliminates the need for passing paper prescriptions and allows patients to skip the line to drop prescriptions off.

Creates a Paperless Practice

Practices can be totally paperless with e-prescriptions. Everything can be handled digitally and often in the cloud.

E-Prescribe Through Practice-Web with DoseSpot

Dentists who use Practice-Web practice management software can leverage our integrated eRx Smart Tool called DoseSpot.


DoseSpot meets all DEA EPCS guidelines, so you can securely prescribe knowing you’re complying with the latest regulations.

Automated Two-Way Synching

Most vital patient and medication information automatically synchs from Practice-Web into DoseSpot. Details in DoseSpot, such as the medication you’re prescribing and history, automatically populate into your patient chart too.

Access to Lexicomp Online for Dentistry

Tap into Lexicomp to explore details on medications, prescribing guidelines, and more. As a standalone service, Lexicomp is normally $399 per year, but it’s included FREE in DoseSpot for Practice-Web. This is an exclusive arrangement you won’t find anywhere else other than DoseSpot.

Complete SureScripts Medical History Import

DoseSpot is part SureScripts, the nation’s largest eRx network. Responsible for processing 77 percent of America’s electronic prescriptions, SureScripts can give you access to a patient’s complete history from any provider within the SureScripts network.

Intuitive Interface

From the moment you log in, DoseSpot carries you through the prescription process while making prescribing fast, easy, and safer. The system automatically suggests medications as you start typing, allows you to save “favorite” medications, provides pharmacy information, and will alert you if there’s an issue with something you’re prescribing.

DoseSpot also automatically knows whether you’re a provider or auxiliary dental staff based on how you’re logged into Practice-Web. Auxiliary staff can access basic information and even update information so it’s ready for you. However, your four-digit PIN is required to send all prescriptions. When you’re logged in as a provider, you’ll also see any prescription-related alerts right on your Practice-Web dashboard. This will keep you informed as patients request refills and if there are any issues with medications you’ve prescribed.

Secure Two-Factor Authentication

DEA regulations require two-factor authentication. DoseSpot makes complying a breeze. Just check the app on your phone for the six-digit rotating code when you’re ready to prescribe and enter it into DoseSpot.  

Learn More or Get Started with E-Prescriptions

  • Take a Tour: Learn how Practice-Web eRx works on our Smart Tools e-prescriptions page.
  • Get a Live Personalized Demo: Our team is happy to walk you through how DoseSpot and Practice-Web work whether you’re an existing Practice-Web user or are new to us. Click here to request a demo.
  • Sign Up: Start sending e-prescriptions in as little as two days. Contact us via our web form or call (800) 845-9379 and select option 1 to sign up.

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