The first pharmacist in Australia to dispense an e-script shares his learnings from transitioning his pharmacy to the new electronic model
Pharmacist Jason Bratuskins dispensed Australia’s first paperless electronic prescription at his Victorian pharmacy in May this year.
Mr Bratuskins, who is also a product manager at Fred IT Group, shared what life has been like at Anglesea Pharmacy following the transition to e-scripts, during a webinar run by Fred IT Group on Wednesday night.
“We’ve been fortunate to have a first crack at e-prescriptions,” he said.
“It was all a bit daunting trying to explain it to patients and staff. I’ve got to say though, the staff have warmed to it, customers have warmed to it…
“Once patients started walking in with them, it started to make sense, you then see how it all works.”
Mr Bratuskins said the experience is akin to when eRx Script Exchange first started.
“It’s pretty amazing to watch,” he added.
“Doctors are providing scripts to patient’s phones, it takes a bit of work for them to explain to patients what it’s all about. But patients are expecting this sort of thing to happen in pharmacy, it’s happening in a lot of different industries.”
One big difference his pharmacy has seen is not having to manage as much paper anymore.
“It’s a bit weird the first time you do it, you’re looking around for the paper, for the staple remover… but once you get used to it, it becomes part of your normal process,” Mr Bratuskins told webinar attendees.
“Really think about how it’s all going to happen in your pharmacy – no paper, no repeats and no staples lying around.”
He shared some thoughts and ideas regarding how his pharmacy transitioned to the model:
Hardware to receive e-prescriptions and read QR
“We’ve tried lots of different scanners and devices, we tried using second screens, the same screens…” said Mr Bratuskins.
“The biggest lesson is that less is best. Start small, probably your volumes aren’t going to be that big initially.”
He suggested starting with one terminal in the front of shop, and perhaps in the dispensary as well.
“Start with one terminal and as the volume grows consider doing it with different terminals. Also make sure your scanners can accept QR codes.”
“Think about cybersecurity, make sure your operating system is up-to-date, and antivirus software, and consider FRED protect as well, a new product that we’ve got available to help increase the amount of security in your pharmacy,” he said.
Mr Bratuskins, colleague Danielle Bancroft, also a product manager at Fred IT Group, and Paul Naismith, CEO of Fred IT Group conducted a Q&A session during the webinar. Here are some of the highlights:
Q: Who pays for e-scripts and SMS?
“The cost for eRx remains unchanged,” said Ms Bancroft.
“The SMS cost is actually for the sender of the script, so the doctor pays for the original token or the pharmacy pays for a repeat, but that is going to be funded by the government in the short term, they are going to pay for the SMS.”
Mr Naismith reminded pharmacists that there is no cost with email or with the Active Script List.
Q: What happens if the patient loses their token?
“If they lose their phone or if they deleted the email, you can re-issue the token very easily,” explained Ms Bancroft, adding that there’s a button in the software that clearly says ‘reissue token’.
Q: What about if the internet is down?
“A whole lot of things go down if the internet goes down,” said Mr Bratuskins.
“Yes, you’re not going to be able to download an e-prescription if the internet is down. But think about 4G backup, redundant internet, you can always do an owing script if you have enough information or talk to the prescriber about the script that is in front of you. You can do an owing script and then reconcile it when the internet comes back up using that token.”
Q: Can I print a paper repeat for an e-script?
“There is no paper repeat for an e-script. But you can print a paper token if the patient wants one,” answered Ms Bancroft.
Q: What if I get an audit from the state pharmacy board?
“They’ll want to see details about your e-prescriptions. The scripts can be brought up within MedView flow,” said Mr Bratuskins.
“Also within the actual dispense application, you can get an extract of the actual prescription information, in Fred Dispense.”