Medicine of the future: e-script rollout across Sydney

Thursday, 22 October, 2020

Medicine of the future: e-script rollout across Sydney

Sydney residents — from Hornsby Shire in the north, to the city of Campbelltown in the south and the city of Penrith in the west — will soon have access to electronic prescriptions, following a rollout across all of Victoria in September.

If a patient wants an electronic prescription, rather than a paper prescription, their doctor can select this option in their software when creating the prescription, and the patient will immediately receive an SMS or email. The patient then sends or takes this to their preferred pharmacy.

The SMS or email contains a QR code ‘token’ that unlocks the electronic prescription from a secure, encrypted electronic prescription service. Once scanned, the token allows the pharmacist to view the prescription and dispense the medicine. Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said that nearly 400,000 electronic prescriptions have been received by patients since they were first made available in May.

Victoria already has access to electronic prescriptions and Sydney will introduce them this month, followed by a staged expansion across Australia. To prepare, more than 13,000 healthcare providers have attended online training and education sessions run by the Agency.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) have provided further support and advice. Software providers have also provided masterclasses to their health professional customers.

“Community pharmacies across Sydney have been working to upgrade their dispensing software and review their in-pharmacy workflow to get ready for electronic prescriptions. The Guild looks forward to further releases of electronic prescriptions functionality providing more convenience for patients, especially those who are on multiple medicines,” said Catherine Bronger, Western Sydney pharmacy owner and NSW Pharmacy Guild and National Councillor.

Future software advancements in 2020 include the Active Script List (ASL), which is a token management solution. People are advised to check if their preferred pharmacy is ready to dispense electronic prescriptions before requesting one from their doctor.

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