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Nationwide real time monitoring program rollout is looking likely to happen by the end of the year 

Australia’s Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) system is set to be rolled out nationally by the of the year, a leading Department of Health bureaucrat predicts. 

Rowena Sierant, Director of the Electronic Medication Management Section of the Commonwealth Department of Health’s Digital Health and Services Australia Branch, was speaking at the eMedication Management 2021 Conference in Sydney.

“All states and territories have signed up to the national RTPM system, they are at various stages of integration and technical build of their systems, and of enacting necessary legislative changes to allow them to share this data,” Ms Sierant said

“All jurisdictions are on track to be integrated to the National Data Exchange by the third quarter of 2021”.

“This will mean that all states and territories will be providing data to the National Data Exchange, and in turn be able to receive real time alerts for prescribers and dispensers.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced in July 2017 the government’s intention to develop the program as part of the the ten year National Drug Strategy, with over $16 million allocated to the Department of Health to deliver the “national rollout of real-time prescription monitoring of controlled medicines to directly address the needless loss of life from the misuse of these drugs”.

Victoria and the ACT have already concluded Phase 1 trialling of the RTPM, and are already providing data, allowing real time alerts to be available in their jurisdiction, Ms Sierant said.

“Throughout 2021 we expect to see more jurisdictions providing and receiving real time alerts, thereby improving quality of care for at-risk patients”. 

Participation in the RTPM will be mandatory for all prescribers and dispensers, she said, with practice software integrated into the national RTPM system. 

The format of alerts will be dependent on the state or territory, and which controlled medicines are being monitored in that jurisdiction. 

“Once all jurisdictions are fully integrated, the RTPM system will perform real-time checks of the national Data Exchange and use a traffic light system that alerts prescribers and dispensers to patients who may be at risk of dependency or misuse,” she said.   

“Upon receiving these alerts, the doctor or pharmacist can access the National Data Exchange, where they can view the patient’s medicine history for the past twelve months”.

Jurisdictions are currently responsible for developing the regulatory components that integrate with the National Data Exchange, she said.   

“In Australia, states and territories maintain responsibility for the regulation of controlled medicines within their jurisdiction, and have discretion as to which additional medicines they wish to monitor using the RTPM system”.

Controlled medicines included in the data exchange for real time prescription monitoring include morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, dexamphetamine, diazepam and alprazolam. 

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