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Electronic Prescribing Mandate Takes Effect January 1, 2020

Statewide Iowa — Beginning January 1, 2020, all prescriptions, including all controlled substances, unless specifically exempted, must be e-prescribed, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, or IDPH.

Public health officials say the new law is for all health care providers, except veterinarians.

The IDPH says electronic prescribing, or “e-prescribing,” allows health care providers to enter prescription information into a computer device, such as a tablet, laptop or desktop computer, and securely transmit the prescription to pharmacies using a special software program and connectivity to a transmission network.

Iowa Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Andrew Funk says that e-prescribing has been shown to decrease prescribing and medication errors and enhance the safety of and quality of the prescribing process. He says it’s also an important part of the fight against opioid misuse, as e-prescriptions are much less likely to be falsified.

Iowa is one of 15 states with e-prescribing mandates. Public health officials tell us that in most instances, Iowans treated with prescription medications will no longer be given a paper slip to take to a pharmacy; instead, the prescription will be electronically sent to their pharmacy of choice. This includes “C-II” prescriptions that have historically been written and required to be hand-delivered to the pharmacy. C2 drugs contain narcotics, stimulants and central nervous system depressants like codeine and hydrocodone. Existing prescriptions with refills will continue to be filled until the prescription expires or the refills are exhausted. Practitioners will still be able to order a 90-day supply of medication as well; it will simply be ordered electronically.

Iowans with questions about the new requirement should speak to their prescriber or pharmacist. For more information and to see a list of frequently asked questions, visit https://pharmacy.iowa.gov/misc/electronic-prescribing-mandate.

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