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ePrescribing & SafeScript NSW

ePrescribing

Under the National Health Plan for COVID-19, the Australian Government has accelerated the delivery of electronic prescribing to help protect people most at-risk in our community from exposure to COVID-19.

What you need to know about electronic prescribing

Electronic Prescribing (ePrescribing) will provide an option for prescribers and their patients to have an electronic prescription (eScript) as an alternative to a paper-based prescription.

ePrescribing is the process by which a prescription is electronically generated by a prescriber using software which conforms to stringent specifications. Only an authorised prescriber can generate an electronic prescription, which is then securely transmitted to a prescription delivery service. The electronic prescription is then available for dispensing and supply through any dispensing software that conforms to the appropriate requirements.

Electronic prescribing is not mandatory, and patients and prescribers will be able to choose electronic or paper prescriptions.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has published a new page on electronic prescribing which explains how the process will work. 

What are the benefits of electronic prescribing?

  • Improved patient safety by reducing the risk of transcription errors;
  • Improved practitioner workflow efficiencies by reducing unnecessary paperwork;
  • Choice of prescription format that suits patient preference;
  • Potential for new or alternative digital health services and initiatives into the future;
  • Reduced prescription misuse through increased data available for real-time monitoring; and
  • Support the future of digital health innovation.

When will it be available?

  • The Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) is leading the work to enable electronic prescribing and has overall accountability for the electronic prescribing project. The DoH has partnered with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to develop the technical components of the project, supporting the legal prescribing and dispensing of medicines and subsequent Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) claiming from electronic prescriptions.
  • A register of conforming software products has been created to ensure that software developers are creating software that is conformant to government legislation, and for healthcare providers and vendors to understand which software companies are conformant.
  • Not all software vendors will have upgrades available for their clients at the same time. This means your prescribing/dispensing software provider will work with you to plan and introduce this new capability and minimise any potential downtime to your business.

Interim arrangements for e-prescribing to support telehealth

Ahead of the introduction of electronic prescribing later in the year, please be aware interim arrangements are now in place for prescribing to make supply of medicine more convenient following a telehealth consultation.  Under the interim arrangements, a digital image (such as a photo, scan or pdf) of a prescription can be sent electronically by the prescriber to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. This electronic copy can be used by the pharmacy to supply the medicine and claim from the PBS in the same way as a paper prescription.

The Australian Government has announced the interim arrangements for prescribing will remain in place until 31 March 2021. More information can be found on the DoH website.

Additional Resources

For more information about electronic prescribing and electronic prescriptions, see:

SafeScript NSW

SafeScript NSW is a real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM) system which allows prescribers access to their patient’s prescription history for certain high-risk monitored medicines. SafeScript supports prescribers in making safer clinical decisions and reduces the prevalence of unsafe use of monitored medicines.

Prescribers and pharmacists in our region now have access to SafeScript NSW as part of a phased statewide rollout. All prescribers (medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and dentists) and pharmacists registered with AHPRA can access SafeScript NSW after they have registered.

NSW Health has launched their new SafeScript NSW website for health professionals with education and training, patient information, resources, and frequently asked questions about SafeScript NSW. To support the rollout of SafeScript NSW, HealthPathways has developed two pathways to help practitioners navigate this new initiative.

How to prepare

For more information, visit SafeScript NSW website or email SafeScript NSW