History in the making

Australia’s first paperless electronic prescription in primary care was successfully prescribed and dispensed on Wednesday

The e-script, which used the “token” model, was prescribed by Dr David Corbet at Anglesea Medical in Victoria and dispensed by pharmacist Jason Bratuskins at Anglesea Pharmacy.

This move marks a significant first step in the national delivery of electronic prescriptions, the rollout of which has been fast-tracked amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the “token” model, 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.

“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,” said Dr Corbet.

Mr Bratuskins then dispensed the electronic prescription in his Anglesea pharmacy.

“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,” he said.

“I was pleased to see that this could sit comfortably alongside our existing processes.”

The electronic prescription occurred using the Best Practice prescribing system, prescription exchange service eRx Script Exchange, Fred NXT Dispense and MedView Flow.

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 providing Australians patients with flexibility for how they can 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,” said Mr Naismith.

An example of an e-script “token”, provided in an interactive demo by Fred IT Group at APP2020 Online.

Dr Frank Pyefinch, CEO of Best Practice, referred to the first electronic script being successfully transferred as “history in the making”.

“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,” said Dr Pyefinch.

The token model will work alongside the Active Script List (ASL) to provide patients with flexibility in how they digitally access their medications.

When it becomes available, ASL will enable 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.

This week’s successful effort covered the entire electronic process of the token model, explain the organisations involved—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.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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1 Comment

  1. Gwyn Morris

    My how things have changed. My first relieving job out of Pharmacy College was at Anglesea Pharmacy, a long time ago – retired 7 years ago !. In my first week I received a test script from NHS dept for Mixture of Potassium Iodide & Stram – somehow passed it 🤗 No computers then ! It was a very sleepy seaside village in those days.
    Gwyn Morris

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