The AVMA regularly interacts with pharmacy groups, including our recent work urging pharmacies not to ask prescribing veterinarians for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers as prescriber identifiers (see our policy on inappropriate requests for DEA registration numbers and a recent JAVMA article regarding veterinary ineligibility for NPI numbers). One of the pharmacy groups we’re interacting with is the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), which develops standards for various health systems to utilize when electronically exchanging information related to pharmacy services. Our outreach led to information sharing with two working groups, one of which was the telecommunications group whose work was recently reported in VIN. We also continue to interact regularly with the Electronic Prescribing Best Practices Task Group, whose goals are to ensure pharmacies can comply with state rules when using electronic prescribing systems, and to share best practices on electronic prescribing systems with the industry.
Although electronic prescribing is fairly rare in veterinary medicine compared to its use within other health professions, we’re staying engaged with NCPDP colleagues, so that if veterinarians choose to start prescribing electronically, future e-prescribing systems will be a better fit for veterinary prescriptions. The NCPDP group’s current work, which is still in progress, will be incorporated into a future version of the e-prescribing standard. The new standard will be fully implemented in several years when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require its use. Like the NCPDP’s telecommunications group, the electronic prescribing group anticipates incorporating veterinary state license numbers as identifiers (not DEA or National Provider Identifier numbers). Likewise, it is anticipated to include components that are fitting for veterinary prescriptions, including patient species and animal owner names.
Certainly we will keep members informed as our communications continue on pharmacy issues. In the meantime, see our FAQs webpage which includes links on prescribing and pharmacy FAQs for veterinarians and for pet owners.