WCA Hospital eliminates dual prescribing workflows and increases patient satisfaction by implementing EPCS with Imprivata Confirm ID


Location: Jamestown, N.Y.

Employees: 1,200

Industry: Healthcare


  • Improving the patient experience with prescriptions

  • Eliminating dual prescribing workflows

  • Improving provider satisfaction


  • Improved patient safety and satisfaction

  • Increased provider satisfaction

  • Greater clinical efficiency

WCA Hospital in Jamestown, N.Y., is a non-profit, 317-bed acute care hospital with 132 practicing physicians. Located just south of Buffalo, the hospital offers general services such as medical-surgical, OB/GYN, and psychiatric care, as well as inpatient and outpatient specialties like sports medicine and physical therapy.

As a New York healthcare provider, WCA Hospital must comply with the state’s I-STOP law, which requires electronic prescribing for all medications, including controlled substances. Compliance with I-STOP is linked to the DEA requirements for electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS), including:

  • Provider identity proofing

  • Logical access controls

  • Two-factor authentication to sign prescriptions

  • Comprehensive auditing and reporting

While meeting I-STOP and DEA requirements drove WCA’s EPCS initiative, the hospital sought to use EPCS to meet several other objectives as well. This included eliminating dual prescribing workflows, increasing provider satisfaction, improving patient safety and satisfaction, and reducing long wait times at the pharmacy.

“With EPCS, there are so many benefits, from patient to physician to pharmacist,” says Laura Josephson, RN, Clinical Informatics Manager and EPCS project lead at WCA Hospital. “With the right solution in place to help drive adoption, we knew we could have significant efficiency gains and much higher satisfaction levels.”

Specifically, Josephson and her team wanted to address:

  • Patient satisfaction: Patients faced long wait times at the pharmacy to get their prescriptions filled. Then, once at the front of the line, filling those prescriptions could be hindered by handwriting interpretation errors

  • Nurse buy-in: At WCA Hospital, nurses are responsible for entering and collecting a patient’s home medication list and preferred pharmacy, and then verifying that with the patient. That made it particularly important for nurses to be on board with an EPCS project.

  • Patient safety: Even without I-STOP, those at WCA Hospital were watching national trends and concerns around prescription abuse with controlled substances. That made it urgent to put a system in place that would improve patient safety by addressing prescription fraud, doctor shopping, and drug diversion

Turning to Imprivata 

WCA Hospital chose to implement Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS, a comprehensive platform for provider identity proofing, supervised enrollment of credentials, two-factor authentication, and auditing and reporting. 

“We immediately saw the advantages to Imprivata Confirm ID,” says Josephson. “We were already using Imprivata for a couple of our other solutions, including Imprivata OneSign® for enterprise single sign-on, so we knew there would be considerable advantages to consolidating with a strategic partner. Not only would we have Confirm ID as a comprehensive solution for meeting compliance requirements, we would also be able to implement it in a way that drove benefits quickly.” 

One of the key benefits of Imprivata Confirm ID is the breadth of DEA-compliant two-factor authentication options available to meet different e-prescribing workflow scenarios. After reviewing several options and getting input from physicians, WCA Hospital selected fingerprint biometrics as a fast, convenient option for practitioners to complete the two-factor authentication requirement for EPCS. WCA also implemented soft tokens, available on physicians’ smart phones, which enabled them to meet the two-factor authentication requirement for prescribing controlled medications when they were not physically on site at the hospital. 

To roll out Imprivata Confirm ID, WCA Hospital created enrollment fair events and promoted the simplicity of the process. Confirm ID’s enrollment utility allowed the hospital to stay on track with its enrollment targets and schedule. 

“We wanted people to think of this as an easy process,” says Josephson. “Imprivata Confirm ID gave us the ability to streamline enrollment and education.” 

Getting the benefits 

With Imprivata Confirm ID for EPCS in place, WCA Hospital quickly saw a number of benefits. In the first full month after going live, WCA reported: 

  • E-prescribing utilization was up 23% for non-controlled substances 

  • Meaningful Use e-prescribing rates increased from 44.2% to 50.4% 

  • 28% of controlled substances were prescribed electronically 

“Providers saw the greater efficiency of having a single electronic workflow for all prescriptions,” says Josephson. “Imprivata Confirm ID integrates directly with our e-prescribing workflow. That means no extra clicking or navigating to a different system, which saves time and keeps providers focused on the task at hand.” 

“E-prescribing narcotics is easier and faster for prescribers and patients alike,” says Timothy Brown, MD, a WCA Hospital surgeon. “It has better documentation and immediate pharmacy feedback. This is probably the best change to prescription writing that New York State has made.” 

Bringing provider efficiency together with other benefits like patient safety made Imprivata Confirm ID the right choice for WCA Hospital. 

“Even though New York State mandates EPCS, we needed to ensure we put the right solution in place to drive adoption and realize all the significant benefits of EPCS,” says Josephson. “Imprivata Confirm ID gives us exactly what we needed to meet all of our goals, and we now have a compliant EPCS system in place that our providers and patients love.”