WhatsApp is one of Australia’s most popular messenger apps, and home to the Australian Government’s official Covid-19 channel. The launch of prescription ordering via WhatsApp means that it will be even easier for patients to view and manage their electronic prescriptions. Patients will also now have the flexibility to order their electronic prescriptions via WhatsApp, SMS or email.
Patients will also be able to use WhatsApp to quickly and easily access their My Script List to message their pharmacy to arrange for a prescription to be dispensed. My Script List is Australia’s first active script list, launched in Tasmania in April 2021, and now available to all states and territories. It provides GPs, patients and pharmacies with visibility of all of a patient’s current prescriptions and repeats in one digital list for the first time. The new script list complements the existing methods of the paper script and digital token – the digitised script sent by the doctor to a patient’s email or phone – which was introduced in May 2020.
According to pharmacist and CEO of Fred IT Group, Paul Naismith,
"The addition of WhatsApp ordering makes it significantly easier for patients to manage their medications, and means that a significant number of patients now have the flexibility to choose between using SMS, email or WhatsApp to order their prescriptions. We know that more and more, consumers are favouring one app that they can use for many interactions. As the most widely used chat app in Australia, this means that the WhatsApp options for script ordering will be available to the most people possible"
In 2020, Fred won an Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Innovation Challenge for its work on developing WhatsApp as a way to enable Australians to easily access their prescriptions electronically.
WhatsApp prescription ordering uses a WhatsApp chatbot and includes end-to-end encryption. Pharmacies using Fred dispensing software have access to WhatsApp prescription ordering. This is available via MedView Patient Connect, which is part of MedView Flow.
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.”