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The increased take-up has seen eRx Script Exchange achieve the milestone of 20 million electronic prescriptions since Australia launched national electronic prescriptions fifteen months ago. More than 28,000 doctors prescribed 10.5 million of those, while 98% of the nation’s pharmacies produced 9.5 million repeats.
The rate of usage has increased as patients and health practitioners have been affected by recurring lockdowns, with the four months from June to September 2021 seeing:
Electronic prescriptions have been vital in providing patients and health professionals with additional flexibility during COVID-19, including the ability for patients to obtain their medicines without attending a clinic or pharmacy (where delivery is available). Electronic prescriptions have enabled patients in isolation or quarantine to maintain uninterrupted medication supply.
Paul Naismith, pharmacist and CEO of Fred IT, says that electronic prescriptions have been central in enabling pharmacies and patients to adapt to the challenges of lockdown.
"Although we have seen widespread changes in pharmacy practice since the beginning of COVID-19, pharmacies have had to keep adapting to the Delta variant. Electronic prescriptions have played a key role in helping pharmacies manage practical issues around lockdown and social distancing, including reducing the potential time that patients are waiting in-store and reducing the number of people in-store at any one time."
According to Paul, lockdowns have seen patients also increasingly turning to pre-ordering of electronic prescriptions.
"Patients have become more digitally capable during COVID-19 and this is driving rapid change in how they connect with pharmacies. In the past week, 14,000 patients pre-ordered electronic scripts through the MedView Flow network, which means they ordered from home or elsewhere before coming in to collect their medicine. The vast majority of these thousands of pre-ordered prescriptions are click and collect, although delivery services are growing."
Whilst pre-ordering prescriptions has always been possible, the removal of the need for the paper script follow-up has substantially streamlined the process for patients and pharmacies. Where pharmacies are using MedView Flow, electronic script orders are also submitted directly into the pharmacy queue, which further increases efficiencies.
The new “How can I get this prescription dispensed?” button on eRx digital tokens (image below) offers an increasing selection of apps and services. The MedView Flow network of 2600 participating pharmacies are receiving prescription orders directly into the dispensary from the following patient driven services:
For further information and resources for your pharmacy see ePrescriptions
Fred IT Group launched a new digital script list, called My Script List, last week to provide pharmacies with a complete list of all of a patient’s current prescriptions and repeats for the first time.
My Script List was launched in Tasmania on Thursday 22 April. It will be rolled out to the remaining states and territories by the end of May. The new digital list will make it significantly easier for pharmacists to help patients identify the correct electronic prescription, removing concerns about patients losing prescriptions, or having to locate the right prescription or digital token.
According to Joseph O’Malley, Pharmacist and owner of Westside Pharmacy in Ulverstone, Tasmania, and Director of Pharmaceutical Defence Limited:
“My Script List has provided us with better visibility of our patients’ current prescriptions. This helps us to reduce the pressure that patients experience, as they no longer need to worry about remembering their scripts or sorting through tokens on their phone. Instead, they simply come in and talk to us and let us manage their prescriptions. My Script List has also removed the need to keep scripts on file, so is much easier to manage than printing and filling paper prescriptions."
Electronic prescriptions were launched in Australia in May 2020 with a digital token method (the electronic prescription sent by the doctor to a patient’s email or phone) alongside the existing paper prescription. In the six months since launch:
My Script List is a Department of Health conformant Active Script List (ASL). It works alongside the token method and the original paper prescription. Whilst the token method generates a separate token for each prescription and repeat, My Script List combines the patient’s electronic prescriptions in one digital list.
According to pharmacist and CEO of the Fred IT Group, Paul Naismith:
“My Script List will substantially reduce the administrative burden associated with managing and dispensing prescriptions. This is extremely important for pharmacies that are supporting patients with multiple prescriptions and chronic health conditions. It means that pharmacists can therefore spend time where they need to – supporting the health care needs of their patients.”
My Script List was created in partnership between Australia’s two prescription exchange services - eRx Script Exchange and MediSecure - and will be available to all pharmacies across Australia as other dispensing vendors integrate to the MySL. Patients can contact their pharmacist or GP to activate their My Script List.
In the coming month Fred is also set to launch WhatsApp access for patients who have a My Script List. This will increase flexibility in how they order and manage prescriptions from their local pharmacy. Fred is also working with several medication management apps (including MedAdvisor, Medmate and myPharmacyLink) to allow patients to be able to access and view their My Script List.
For further information:
Information and resources on electronic prescriptions for patients and healthcare providers are available on the Australian Digital Health Agency website.
Electronic prescriptions are now transacting across Australia, with the Northern Territory’s successful dispense of its first paperless electronic prescription on 1 September.
eRx Script Exchange has now successfully enabled electronic prescriptions to be transacted in all Australian states and territories as part of the national network for electronic prescribing and dispensing.
Alice Springs Pharmacy dispensed the Northern Territory’s first electronic prescription. Pharmacy Manager Anandh Vijayan said, “We are extremely proud to have dispensed the Northern Territory’s first electronic prescription. This will make it easier for patients to access their medication. Alice Springs has a large number of tourists and visitors from other parts of the country who will now be able to access medications from their GP while they are visiting. It will also save our pharmacy considerable time that we would otherwise spend dealing with fax copies and having to chase up originals.”
According to Rupert Lee, Acting Chief Operating Officer at the Australian Digital Health Agency,
“Given the remote locations of many patients, prescribers, pharmacies and communities throughout the Northern Territory, the Agency believes that electronic prescriptions will bring significant benefits to many people. With the final jurisdiction now live, we are pleased to see that electronic prescriptions are now being utilised in every state and territory across Australia. Congratulations to everyone involved in this important initiative.”
Pharmacist and CEO of Fred IT Group, Paul Naismith, emphasised the foundational role of electronic prescriptions in a modern healthcare network, saying,
“This is a significant leap forward for healthcare in Australia. The achievement of national electronic prescriptions is vital to modern healthcare delivery based on flexibility for patients and state-of-the-art systems for healthcare professionals.”
“Behind the scenes, this has occurred as a result of enormous industry collaboration across the states and territories. I am extremely proud of the leadership role that Fred and eRx Script Exchange have taken in making this happen, and of the terrific efforts of GPs, pharmacies, and medical and pharmacy software vendors working together to make this available across Australia.”
This week’s successful electronic prescription occurred using Best Practice medical software prescribing system, prescription exchange service eRx Script Exchange, and Fred Dispense with MedView Flow. It used the “token” model, which involves the doctor sending the electronic prescription “token” to the patient by SMS or email. The patient then forwards or presents the code to their chosen pharmacy for dispensing.
Pharmacies and GPs should contact their vendors about turning on the token model in their sites.
Active Script List
With the national network for “tokens” in place across Australia, preparations continue for the launch of the Active Script List this year. The token model and Active Script List will operate side-by-side to provide patients with flexibility in how they digitally access their medications.
The Active Script List will further improve the patient experience by-
Leading Australian prescribing and dispensing vendors collaborate to complete electronic prescription.
Australia’s first paperless electronic prescription in primary care was successfully prescribed and dispensed in Victoria yesterday, marking a significant first step in the national delivery of electronic prescriptions.
The first electronic prescribing and dispensing occurred between Anglesea Medical and Anglesea Pharmacy. It used the “token” model where the doctor sends the electronic prescription along with a code or “token” to the patient by SMS or email. The patient then forwards or presents the code to their chosen pharmacy for dispensing.
According to Dr David Corbet at Anglesea Medical who prescribed the first electronic prescription, “The process is as simple as writing the prescription in the usual manner and, with the consent of the patient, selecting that the prescription is generated as an electronic prescription.”
Pharmacist Jason Bratuskins dispensed the first electronic prescription in his Anglesea pharmacy. He commented, “Our patients and staff have been profoundly influenced by the isolation requirements of COVID-19, and it has been terrific to be part of efforts to re-define how we support our patients with alternative options for fulfilling prescriptions. I was pleased to see that this could sit comfortably alongside our existing processes.”
Pharmacist and CEO of Fred IT Group, Paul Naismith said,
“The achievement of the first successful electronic prescription in primary care settings is a major step forward in Australia’s provision of a digital network that provides patients with flexibility for how they access their medications. I am very proud of the Fred and eRx teams which, through ongoing innovation and hard work, have achieved this result ahead of schedule in a very challenging work environment.”
CEO of Best Practice, Dr Frank Pyefinch, was thrilled to hear that the first electronic script had been successfully transferred using Best Practice Software, saying,
“Our team has pulled out all stops to deliver this important functionality as quickly as possible and we expect that it will confirm that electronic prescriptions are the way of the future. It is history in the making!”
The token model will work alongside the Active Script List (ASL) to provide patients with flexibility in how they digitally access their medications. This week’s success covered the entire electronic process of the token model: prescribing electronically in Best Practice, providing the patient with a token with the required number of repeats via eRx, sending the dispensing request to the pharmacy, integrating it into the pharmacy’s workflow, based on MedView Flow, and then dispensing in Fred NXT.
Fred CEO Paul Naismith emphasised that ongoing industry collaboration will be vital to the national delivery of electronic prescriptions. Naismith concluded, “The priority from here is to continue approving participating vendor systems and understand what is needed to prepare patients, prescribers and pharmacies for a national system of electronic prescriptions. The token model and ASL are both important components of a national approach which provides patients with the flexibility and security to manage their electronic prescriptions in collaboration with their local prescriber and pharmacist.”
It’s a topic that has been on the radar for some time and the evolution of ePrescriptions is now upon us. It all started with the electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) and it is only a matter of time before the paper script becomes redundant… but there is a little while to go before that is a reality.
The industry is embarking on significant digital advances with the introduction of real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) along with ePrescriptions. This will, if it hasn’t already via RTPM, impact the way your pharmacy operates in the dispensary.
Whilst we wait for ePrescriptions to be rolled out, there are things that you can do now, in your pharmacy, to get ready for the new era in eHealth. We have identified 3 areas to help get you started:
Ensuring your pharmacy is equipped with a good internet connection, up to date computers & equipment and the right security for your data is essential.
Connection to a PES is the first step in the ePrescription process. Without connection to a PES, you are unable to access the information held within the script prescribed by the GP. Along with a PES connection, integration with MyHR and the ability to access your relevant state’s RTPM platform are as important as the PES.
Getting your team up to speed on what ePrescriptions will mean for the pharmacy means you will have an easier time when the transition eventually happens. A good way to start is to ensure your team are scanning every script, and if the barcodes on the scripts aren’t working, let’s get them working!
How to get eHealth ready?
Visit our ePrescribing page for a guide on how start preparing your pharmacy today.
According to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2016 there were 1,808 deaths in Australia as a result of prescription medicine overdoses. The introduction of a national approach to real-time prescription monitoring will play a significant role in preventing prescription medication misuse and saving lives.
Fred’s recent experience in the developing of the Victorian real-time prescription monitoring system, called SafeScript, will be invaluable in extending real-time prescription monitoring to health professionals in all states and territories.
According to Fred CEO and pharmacist Paul Naismith,
“ I have seen first-hand the anguish that accidental prescription drug overdose can cause to families who have lost loved ones, and am honoured that Fred can take part in developing eHealth systems to reduce the devastating impact of prescription overdose and misuse throughout the community. ”
“Fred is committed to making medication management safer and more effective for all Australians, and we applaud the Australian government for taking a national approach to this problem. ”
Fred will design, build and deliver the software system for the National Data Exchange (NDE) component. This will include working closely with medical and pharmacy software vendors and jurisdictions to provide a consistent user experience for health professionals practicing in different environments and to reflect individual state and territory requirements in the national system.
Click here to view the Fred IT Group media release.
eRx Script Exchange today released data on the number of scripts processed during the 2016 Melbourne Cup, showing more than a 50% drop in script traffic compared with a standard Tuesday afternoon.
Between 3:00pm and 3.10, when the Cup ran, the total number of scripts prescribed and dispensed across the country dropped by 50%, from a peak of 4,569 per minute to a low of 2,584 per minute during the race.
Compared with the week prior to Cup Day, Cup Day saw a 44%-52% drop in total traffic sent to the exchange in the ten minutes from 3.00-3.10 pm.
With Pharmacy approaching its two busiest months of the year for prescriptions, the number of doctors and pharmacies using eRx continues to grow.
In preparation, eRx recently carried out network improvements to ensure that the speed of eRx remains fast. So when the horses aren’t running and the pace in your pharmacy quickens, eRx will continue to provide efficiencies for your dispensing.
eRx Script Exchange transfers prescription information between doctors and pharmacies. It is used by more than 20,000 doctors and 4,700 pharmacies every day and transfers more than 90% of the nation’s prescriptions.
One of the key problems facing Australian health care professionals continues to be the lack of consolidated medications information and an inability to easily share information between health professionals. When patients move between community care and hospital and aged care, the absence of good quality and up to date clinical data can contribute to these interactions becoming high risk, resulting in medication misadventures and unnecessary hospital readmissions.
Medications reconciliation remains a largely manual process throughout Australia, providing a glaring reminder of the implications around the lack of shared clinical data on patient welfare. Thankfully, technology advances are making significant inroads into this problem, with the development of new applications such as the MedView Medicines Workspace.
The MedView Medicines Workspace is an update on the original MedView pilot which took place in the Barwon Region of Victoria. The pilot tackled the problem around the lack of visibility of clinical data between different sectors, drawing together medication information from healthcare professionals in community, hospital and aged care settings. As a result and in an Australian first, health professionals who took part in the trial were able to see a combined list of patients’ prescribed and dispensed medications from across all of these settings.
The pilot found that the sharing of clinical data, with patient consent, resulted in better medications management and safer outcomes for patients. MedView demonstrated the capacity of web applications to draw on data captured by existing systems, especially eRx Script Exchange, as a way of delivering extra value for health users and health professionals.
In community pharmacy and GP clinics, it is not uncommon to see patients who are confused about what medications they should be taking according to their discharge summary. The MedView Medicines Workspace will help alleviate this problem by allowing doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, aged care settings and patients to have shared access to critical medicines information and services.
With MedView Medicines Workspace, authorised health care providers will be able to view hospital data and pharmacy data at the same time, regardless of whether they are in My Health Record (MyHR) or MedView. They can then curate the data into a reconciled list, which can also be verified with additional input from the patient. Should the patient then present at a hospital or clinic, the clinician can view the reconciled list, complete with details on who curated the list and when, enabling a well-informed discussion with the patient about their medication.
The MedView pilot was focused solely on providing a consolidated list of all prescribed and dispensed medications of a patient for practitioners to see. This was a significant achievement in itself, however there was no capacity to interact directly with the data provided and improve the quality of the information held.
Four years on and taking it a step further, the new MedView Medicines Workspace will be a hub for authorised third parties to integrate with and deliver additional medications management services such as, medications reconciliation, medications monitoring and compliance monitoring - allowing clinicians to contribute data back to MyHR.
The original MedView provided a consolidated medications list of prescribe and dispense events. The new MedView will provide services on top which will help drive meaningful use of MyHR data.
With the launch of MedView Medications Workspace on the horizon, we will be in a stronger position to ensure that the right health care professionals are able to see the right information at the right time. Above and beyond this, doctors, pharmacists and other clinicians will also be able to contribute to shared records, both within the workspace and in MyHR. Not only can this help to ease the burden of misadventure and unnecessary hospital readmissions, but it also has real potential to drive the meaningful use of MyHR.
The key, as an industry, is to concentrate on bridging these information gaps to provide optimal care for patients. The ideal of one clear and perfect complete source of medications data is still a way off, however we must concentrate our efforts on how we can better work together as an industry to use data that is already being captured through systems such as electronic prescribing and dispensing. In this view, MedView Medicines Workspace and MyHR are not competing, but rather are complementary ways of building up clinical data at some of the high risk intersections between care settings.
It goes without saying that any such understanding needs to be based on the view that data is only shared with consent, and that it is dealt with sensitively and with a view to improving health outcomes rather than commercial outcomes.
The MedView Medicines Workspace is a prime example of how thinking creatively and applying innovation can deliver real life-saving potential and immediate practical value to the entire health sector.
Pharmacy software specialist Fred IT will try out the first phase of its new MedView Medicines Workspace during the later stages of the Northern Queensland trial for the opt-out model of the My Health Record.
First announced at the Australian Pharmacy Professional (APP) conference on the Gold Coast earlier this month, Fred's MedView Medicines Workspace will eventually allow doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and patients to have shared access to critical medicines information and services.
Fred IT CEO Paul Naismith said the web application would initially provide a medicines reconciliation function particularly aimed at pharmacists but would grow to allow all authorised health professionals to have a single patient view of the different sources of medication knowledge, and then provide a medication services on top of that.
To read the full article please visit Pulse IT Magazine