Digital health: where to next

future crystal ball

Electronic prescriptions are here, but are you taking full advantage of this innovative technology, or are you still trying to do everything the ‘old way’? by Ben Wilkins 

In conjunction with the interim prescription arrangements, and traditional methods, the fast-track token electronic prescriptions will then progress to the cloud version (called the Active Script List). This evolution in utilising technology means pharmacies shall interact with their customers in new innovative ways. The customer experience will be paramount to maintain business as our world continues to change. 

The Active Script List (ASL) model does not have a confirmed date for implementation. It is anticipated in the second half of 2020 with more functionality available in addition to the token model.

Under the ASL model, pharmacists will be able to access a patient’s electronic prescription by retrieving it essentially from the ‘cloud’ with appropriate encryption and security in place. The patient must prove their identity to the pharmacist.

The ASL is expected to overcome the issue of lost tokens and assist medication management and adherence, especially for patients who are using multiple medicines.

Such new technology advancements in practice will see a requirement for more efficient workflows and processes – that may extend beyond a pharmacy’s four walls. Other considerations will be ensuring your pharmacy meets the software and hardware requirements to progress and deliver, and importantly the right people doing the right things.  

2020 could be a ‘line in the sand’, or ‘Kodak’ moment for Community Pharmacy when the market divides further, but this time on technological capability, not price. Pharmacy leaders or early adopters of change, as well as the disrupters are seeing business opportunity and taking an advantage over their competitors– don’t be left behind.

What to do?

To stay ahead and find our ‘what next’:

  • Review your customer engagement strategies
  • Review your workflow and engage experts
  • Talk frequently with your IT providers and push them to innovate
  • Talk with you supply chain partners
  • Talk to colleagues and other experts
  • Link with support service providers whose business it is to know

Remember electronic prescriptions is just the beginning to other components of the National Digital Health Strategy.

While access to prescription medicines for patients is enhanced, so to data quality and security become an ever greater priority for business.

These along with embedding telehealth, real time prescription monitoring and enhanced models of care in chronic disease management, to name just a few, are areas that will rapidly come to market now the platform has been set.

This is the final article of a three-part series. Click here for the first article, and here for the second article  

Ben Wilkins is a pharmacist with digital health expertise. He is a director of ehealth coachEmail:, or phone: 1300 770 998

More information on this topic can be found via the Australian Digital Health Agency, peak bodies, banner groups or wholesalers, as well as independent supporting organisations.  Another option is to subscribe to save you time.

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