A brand new script

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All systems will be set to go on full-scale e-prescribing by the end of 2019, Minister announces

Australia’s national e-prescribing network should be operational by the end of 2019, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced at the PSA19 Conference in Sydney, last weekend. 

Mr Hunt said that e-prescribing was the “final piece of the puzzle” in setting up a fully operational e-health network.

“Very shortly, our framework will be completed, and I can announce today that we expect the National Australian e-prescribing network up and running before the end of 2019,” Mr Hunt said.

“As with real-time monitoring, we just need the starts to come on board. We’ve already laid the railroad tracks for this very significant change.”

Speaking later in the event, Paul Naismith, founder and CEO of Fred Health said that the end of year timeline was “ambitious”, but that it would be the culmination of 10 years work since the first e-scripts were introduced.

“While the timeline he’s set is a bit of surprise and at first indication is ambitious, I think, it’s great to actually have a date set and have a Minister actively support the change.”

“This could be the most significant change in pharmacy practice since the first computers were introduced to the pharmacy,” Mr Naismith said.

The changes would see the legislation requiring mandatory printed prescriptions be abolished. Importantly, the choice of which pharmacy the e-prescription is to be directed to would be in the hands of the patient, and not the GP, he said.

When the script is written up by the GP, a pop-up screen in the software will ask whether the script is to be sent to the patients phone via SMS, sent direct to an email for the patient or pharmacy, or whether the patient wants a printed script. 

A bar code on the script can be used off a phone when in the pharmacy.

“Pharmacies that make the patient experience easier and seamless will win the patients’ trust,” Mr Naismith said. “It’s a real opportunity and driver to enhance the patient experience.”

“It’s a massive change to think that patient’s will never be able to lose their scripts again.”



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  1. Nicholas Logan

    Hopefully NSW hospitals will have digitalised prescribing. At the moment it’s usually scribble with no prescriber number and no contact numbers. It’s a 20 minutes guessing job at the hospital switchboard to work our their name. So 1952

  2. Chris

    As a qld pharmacist, I would love to see the hospital script as a single a4 piece of paper with copy the medicare on one side and patient/pharmacist copy on the other so we don’t have confused patients bring in one copy only from the hospital or think they actually have two scripts.

    As a patient who has been discharged from hospitals with scripts, I’ve had a doctor tell me pharmacies only need one copy to dispense the script. So I went downstairs to their lovely hospital pharmacist who sighed exasperatedly when and told her what the doctor told me said she’ll fix it up.

    It’s just overall confusing for everyone involved.

  3. Bruce ANNABEL

    An important step forward for pharmacy in time saving, efficiency and, most importantly, reliability with benefits to patients. It is also one of the elements necessary in reducing the cost of dispensing through utilizing the internet and I expect more initiatives to flow via digitization, artificial intelligence and robotics.

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