In 2020 eRx Script Exchange will be transmitting ePrescriptions…

What is an ePrescription?

Whilst prescription information has been transmitted electronically via eRx for over a decade, the legal document has remained the signed piece of paper. An ePrescription changes this so that the legal document becomes the prescription data which resides in eRx (or MediSecure). Whilst the patient remains in control of who can access their prescription, the signed piece of paper is no longer required. It’s important to remember that this new type of prescription will be an option for patients who may also elect to receive a paper prescription if they wish.

How will an ePrescription be transmitted?

The electronic prescription is transmitted from the doctor’s prescribing system to the prescription exchange (eRx or MediSecure) in an encrypted format. Once the legal prescription is in the exchange the patient controls which pharmacy can access it in one of two ways. The first option is for the patient to receive a “token” for their prescription and the second option is for the patient to consent to an Active Script List.

If the patient elects to have an electronic prescription they will receive a token via SMS, email or paper printout for each item prescribed. Once in possession of their token(s), the patient can then either provide this directly to a pharmacy of their choice or use a medication management app for this purpose. The token provides a link to a unique code used by the dispensing pharmacy to access the legal document for dispensing. In a similar way to the prescribing of an original ePrescription, following the dispensing at a pharmacy a new token will be issued for any repeats.

Active Script List (ASL)
The ASL enables patients to authorise pharmacies, doctors and third-party intermediaries of their choice access to their personal list of active scripts ready for dispensing. This patient-controlled access can be ongoing or for a short period of time. Once granted access to this list, a pharmacy may dispense the items requested by the patient. Similarly, doctors and third-party intermediaries, with patient consent, can view the list. Importantly, doctors do not necessarily have to have access to a patient’s ASL in order to prescribe to that patient.

ePrescription Facts

  • ePrescriptions will use the existing electronic script infrastructure and prescribers and pharmacies will need to be connected to a PES, currently eRx or Medisecure to transmit.
  • Prescribing and dispensing software vendors will need to implement the compliance requirements into their software to legally supply and dispense prescriptions without paper documents.
  • Patient choice is the key component to ePrescriptions, the choice remains only with the patient.
  • ePrescribing will gradually roll out from early 2020, there will be an extended transition period where both ePrescriptions along with traditional paper prescriptions will need to be managed in the pharmacy workflow.

For further information on ePrescribing download our FAQ for Pharmacies or FAQ for Doctors

How do I prepare for ePrescribing and ePrescriptions?

Doctors, practice managers and pharmacies should ensure they are registered and have eRx activated in their existing clinical software.

Pharmacies can also checkout our eHealth readiness guide to start preparing their pharmacy now, as well as nominate doctors not currently connected to eRx.


Further information