Oregon Health & Sciences University improves patient satisfaction and workflow efficiency by enabling fast, secure EPCS with Imprivata Confirm ID

Key Facts

Industry: Education and healthcare

Location: Portland, Oregon

Employees: 15,098


  • Improving the patient experience with picking up and filling prescriptions
  • Preventing prescription fraud, especially for controlled substances
  • Enhancing clinical workflow efficiency for busy practitioners dividing their time between patient care, research, and teaching


  • Decreased patient wait time with increased patient satisfaction
  • Improved prescribing workflow efficiency for providers
  • Reduction in paper prescriptions, prescription errors, and fraud

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is Oregon’s only academic health center and includes two hospitals as well as a medical school. More than one million patients visit OHSU’s medical and dental clinics each year, with about 275,000 in active treatment at any given time.

As part of its ongoing commitment to patient safety and satisfaction, OHSU recognized that its process for prescribing controlled substances could be improved. Like most organizations, OHSU used paper-based prescriptions for controlled substances, which created a number of challenges for physicians, patients, and pharmacists.

We realized we needed a more efficient prescribing process for controlled substances that would improve physician workflow, increase prescription security, and boost patient satisfaction,” says Tom Drury, Manager of OHSU’s Health Care Applications Management department.

In particular, Drury and his team wanted to address:

  • Patient convenience: OHSU treats patients from across the state, and paper prescriptions caused some to make additional lengthy trips to get a refill or a replacement for a lost prescription. OHSU also wanted to decrease patient wait time for controlled substance prescriptions.
  • Clinical workflow: Because OHSU combines academics with healthcare, many providers also do research and teaching, which limits their time in clinical settings. The process of issuing paper prescriptions for controlled substances created inefficiencies that took time away from patient care.
  • Fraud concerns: Improve security by reducing the use of prescription paper for controlled substances.

In evaluating options to address these challenges, Drury and his team determined that electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) would deliver a significant improvement in how controlled substances are prescribed. But EPCS is highly regulated, and the DEA mandates a number of requirements before organizations can enable physicians to electronically prescribe controlled substances.

Specifically, the DEA requires:

  • An EHR or e-prescribing application that is properly certified for EPCS
  • Identity proofing for all providers who will be enabled for EPCS
  • A process for enrolling providers and approving credentials
  • Two-factor authentication for signing EPCS orders
  • Comprehensive reporting mechanisms

Drury and his team sought a solution that would not only meet the stringent DEA requirements for EPCS, but also deliver a fast, convenient workflow for physicians.

“We needed to find a solution that our physicians would view as advancing – not interrupting – their workflow. This was crucial to drive EPCS adoption and allow us to realize the security, efficiency, and patient satisfaction benefits,” says Drury.

Choosing Imprivata

OHSU had already implemented the Imprivata authentication management solution for Epic. It was an obvious next step to use the Imprivata EPCS platform for provider identity proofing, supervised enrollment of credentials, two-factor authentication, and auditing and reporting.

“Imprivata Confirm ID was definitely the best solution for our needs,” says Drury. “We needed a comprehensive, centralized solution that could be used by those who were on-premise as well as remote.” The OHSU team also appreciated that security would be robust, yet still convenient for end users, by replacing passwords with innovative authentication methods.

Another driving factor in the choice was that Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS would integrate tightly with Epic (OHSU’s EMR system), thus delivering the functionality OHSU wanted.

“The Imprivata Confirm ID integration with Epic was excellent and easy to implement,” says Drury. “The workflow for providers is fast and efficient and has been very well-received by our clinical staff.”

Seeing results and meeting goals

With Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS in place, OHSU realized a number of benefits, including improved security and increased efficiency through a single, electronic prescribing workflow for all medications.

“EPCS is easy, convenient, and much more secure than a paper workflow with Imprivata Confirm ID,” says Dr. David Sibell, an OHSU physician specializing in anesthesiology, orthopedics, and rehabilitation. “I can prescribe for patients wherever I can log in, using my soft token, which is very satisfying.”

In addition, fraud was virtually eliminated. Sibell adds that Confirm ID usage means that very little prescription paper is now stored in clinics. “That alone lowers the risk of prescription fraud,” he says.