‘Tokens’ would give patients control: MedAdvisor

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A MedAdvisor spokesperson has refuted the Pharmacy Guild’s suggestion that the “token” system for e-Scripts would spark problems

On Thursday the Pharmacy Guild warned that the planned fast-tracking of electronic scripts would cause “unnecessary chaos,” arguing the “token” model being pursued by the government would interrupt administrative and clinical workflow for prescribers and pharmacies.

“The COVID –19 emergency has already seen significant rapid changes introduced to address the need for self-isolation and telemedicine, including prescriptions being sent as a photo image by email, facsimile and in some States text message, directly from prescribers to community pharmacies,” the Guild said.

“The high number of prescriptions being dispensed through these telehealth measures demonstrates that patients are continuing to have ready access to their medicines without the need, at this stressful time, for a token-based electronic prescription which would severely test pharmacy systems and cause confusion and potential medication misadventure for many patients, particularly the elderly and chronically ill.

“From the pharmacy patient perspective, the electronic prescription token system is not suited to patients on multiple medications and will cause further disruption and confusion, especially for those patients not familiar with the required technologies to manage their multiple ‘tokens’.

But Robert Read, CEO of MedAdvisor, says that the token system would solve several problems including the use of obsolescent systems such as faxes.

“With the rise of telehealth during this COVID-19 pandemic, prescribers have needed to send digital images of scripts directly to pharmacies via fax or email, which adds significant administrative burden for both prescribers and pharmacies, and poses the risk of prescribers channelling patients to specific pharmacies,” Mr Read said.

“The introduction of ePrescriptions will solve these issues and put the control back in the patient’s hands.

“Tokens represent a simple and secure way for patients to receive and manage their ePrescriptions, and can be made available within 1-2 months.

“These have been actively worked on by industry working groups and the Government to ensure they meet the appropriate privacy and security standards. They are also the backbone of the Active Script List and therefore necessary.

“From a patient perspective, tokens are similar to paper scripts but accessed digitally via SMS, email or mobile application, thereby minimising the risk of confusion and medication misadventure.

“The tokens can be uploaded into a consumer app such as MedAdvisor, and then organised in a script wallet that can be easily sent right to a pharmacy’s dispensing workflow. This removes faxes, emails and other disruptive processes that pharmacists are currently experiencing with digital image dispensing.

“For pharmacists, processing of tokens will be similar to paper scripts, meaning minimal change and disruption to current workflows.”

The Guild had recommended that the alternative model known as the Active-Script List be prioritised, saying that “it best supports a patient’s access to their medicines via electronic prescribing and best enables the community pharmacy to support this access.”

Mr Read said that tokens and the ASL will eventually co-exist.

“However, there are many privacy and security considerations for ASL and a significant amount of workforce training, planning and testing required before it will become available.

“MedAdvisor is keen to support these initiatives and ensure the appropriate diligence is put in to ensure peoples’ privacy and security expectations are met.”

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  1. (Mary) Kay Dunkley

    How will the majority of elderly patients be able to manage the technology required for tokens? We already have problems with paper repeats being lost imagine the time spent trying to locate tokens on electronic devices? Lets try to get this right before it is launched. We need a system which caters for elderly patients on multiple medications.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      Tokens can be printed on paper

      Tokens are already used by all parts of society (including the elderly) for football tickets, boarding passes, and similar.

      E-scripts aren’t mandatory, and they are significantly easier to work with than image scripts.

      Overall, they are a good option.

      ASL is also a good option… But there are significant workflow issues with ASL as well, not to mention time considerations for pharmacists (consent is very important here)

      Both have their place; waiting for ASL to be ready before launching electronic prescribing is… I’ll advised.

      Btw it’s an interesting position to take by the guild on ASL.

      ASL gives a person to very quickly and very flexibly contact multiple pharmacies in an area in order to find their preferred brand (or price, or service model, etc)

      ASL has it’s benefits, but some pharmacies may be very unhappy if the ASL model is the only model of e-scripts that are released.

      • Megan Kazantzis

        Completely agree Jarrod, very well said.

        Even when both ASL and the token model are ready, it won’t be compulsory and patients will have the option of paper if they prefer.

        I like the idea of fast-tracking the token model so that we can reduce the paper load in pharmacy. At the moment in our pharmacy we’re currently receiving faxes and emails from all different doctors which can be hard to manage when patients come in (or call), often days later, asking if their script was sent through. It will be much easier with the patient in possession of their script and able to send through to our dispense system (via either our app or SMS) rather than having to chase up drs to find out what number/email they sent the script to.

      • (Mary) Kay Dunkley

        Thank you for explaining Jarrod. This sounds quite workable. Though having this in combination with paper scripts, and also faxed and emailed scripts will be a challenge in the current environment. I think a lot of pharmacists and staff are feeling quite fatigued with all the many changes at present. It will take a while for all prescribers to adapt.

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