Royal Perth Hospital first public hospital with electronic prescriptions

Australian Digital Health Agency

In a first for public hospitals nationally, patients at Royal Perth Hospital can now obtain electronic prescriptions that can be dispensed at community pharmacies.

A joint project between Royal Perth Hospital, WA Heath Support Services and the Australian Digital Health Agency, the service will be rolled out to all specialties at the hospital following an initial 12-week trial in Haematology, Immunology, Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine and Gastroenterology & Liver outpatient clinics.

During the trial, registered prescribers can generate an electronic prescription when needed for their patients. Patients will receive an SMS or email message with a token they can either present in person or forward electronically to their local pharmacy to receive supply of their medicine.

The ability of healthcare providers to generate an electronic prescription supports consumer expectations and a choice between paper prescriptions and electronic formats where appropriate. This initiative brings hospital healthcare into the digital health landscape.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said the new service was a major step forward for Western Australian Health and the hospital, as well as for patients.

“This is a fabulous development for hospital outpatients to make their lives a little easier upon leaving hospital with proven digital technology that will further enhance the reputation of Western Australia’s world-class health system,” she said.

“At the end of the Royal Perth Hospital trial, there will be a full-scale evaluation involving feedback from patients, clinicians and pharmacists to help inform further rollout plans for WA Health.”

Royal Perth Hospital Bentley Group Outpatient Project Lead, Ros Jones, said: “We are very excited to partner with WA Health Support Services to develop this fantastic option for our patients and our clinicians who care for them.

“As we are now delivering more healthcare virtually via video and phone call appointment, the ability to also provide patients with their medication scripts electronically enables us to be far more responsive. Patients receive their script in real time, straight away, no more waiting for them to be posted out.”

While this is the first trial of electronic prescriptions in a metropolitan hospital setting in the country, as at 10 August 2022, nearly 72 million electronic prescriptions have been issued, as healthcare providers and patients see the benefits of going digital.

More than 45,000 prescribers – GPs and nurse practitioners – have issued electronic prescriptions to patients and more than 98 per cent of all community pharmacies around the country are dispensing them.

There have been nearly 392,000 registrations for Active Script Lists, which is a consolidated list of all the medicines a patient can have their pharmacy dispense for them.

Electronic prescriptions are now available to most Australians as an alternative to a paper prescription. Many people are choosing electronic prescriptions for convenience. Electronic prescriptions became critical during the pandemic and a spate of natural disasters that meant patients could not get to see their doctor in person.

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