Electronic prescriptions roll out expands across Metropolitan Sydney

Sydney’s five million residents will soon have access to electronic prescriptions, including communities from Hornsby shire in the north, to the city of Campbelltown in the south and the city of Penrith in the west. This follows the roll out across all of Victoria in September.

If a patient wants an electronic prescription from their doctor, rather than a paper prescription, the doctor selects 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 delivery service. Once scanned, the token allows the pharmacist to view the prescription and dispense the medicine.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said, “There has been significant uptake of electronic prescriptions since they were first made available in May; since then, nearly 400,000 electronic prescriptions have been received by patients.”

Victoria already has access to electronic prescriptions and Sydney will roll out this month, followed by a staged expansion across the rest of Australia.

To prepare for electronic prescriptions, more than 13,000 healthcare providers have attended online training and education sessions run by the Agency. Further support and advice has been provided by clinical peak bodies, including 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). Software providers have also provided masterclasses to their health professional customers.

This collaboration means that when electronic prescriptions are available in your community, doctors and pharmacists will be prepared and able to support their patients.

Western Sydney pharmacy owner and NSW Pharmacy Guild and National Councillor Catherine Bronger said, “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.”

Future software enhancements in 2020 include the Active Script List (ASL), which is a token management solution. Electronic prescriptions are an alternative to paper prescriptions. People should check if their preferred pharmacy is ready to dispense electronic prescriptions before requesting an electronic prescription from their doctor.

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