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Doctor Kean-Seng Lim sitting at computer

Electronic prescribing

For prescribers

Over 5.5 million original and repeat electronic prescriptions have been issued already.

- April 2021

Getting started

Registration
  • Ensure your practice has a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-O) and is connected to the Health Identifiers Service. This is a core requirement for electronic prescribing. If you haven’t registered, get more information about registering here
  • Ensure your practice is connected to an open prescription delivery service via a prescription exchange service. Existing prescription exchange services include eRx and MediSecure.
Patient information
  • Update your patient's and their carer's contact details on file (mobile phone number/email).
System settings
  • You’ll need the capability built into your clinical information system. Contact your software provider directly or get more information here or view our electronic prescribing conformance register.
  • Subscribe to your software provider newsletters and correspondence.
  • Stay up to date with communication from clinical peak organisations.
Stay informed
Electronic Prescriptions Toolkit

Printed materials and digital assets to promote electronic prescriptions are available through our Digital Health Resource Library. Please contact your local PHN, peak organisation or partnership manager for the login details.

Online training

CPD accredited free online training for prescribers providing an introduction to electronic prescribing, with a focus on the implementation of the token model.

Important reminder: You are still required to adhere to the National Health Act and relevant state or territory regulations when prescribing medicines using an electronic prescription. 

 

What is electronic prescribing?

Electronic prescribing is providing Australians with convenient access to their medicines. It will improve patient safety by reducing the risk of transcription errors.

Electronic prescriptions aren't mandatory and patients will have a choice to receive either an electronic or a paper prescription from their prescriber (but not both). Electronic prescriptions will continue to support a patient’s right to choose their prescriber and pharmacy to supply their medicines.

Both electronic and paper prescriptions will need to comply with the relevant Commonwealth and state and territory legislation requirements.

To generate an electronic prescription, you will need the capability built into your clinical information system. 

Electronic prescriptions are being rolled out across Australia and are currently available by providing a ‘token’ for patients to receive access to their electronic prescription.

The Active Script List is a token management solution currently in development and will provide further convenience for patients, especially those who are on multiple medicines.

What are the benefits?

Benefits of electronic prescribing extend to the patient, healthcare provider and, more broadly, at a system level. These include:

  • reducing administrative burden for healthcare providers and organisations (such as more effective management of prescription refill requests)
  • supplementing delivery of telehealth services to ensure continuity of patient care
  • providing an opportunity to protect community members and healthcare providers from exposure to infectious diseases (such as COVID-19)
  • maintaining patient privacy and integrity of personal information.

Hear from healthcare providers about the benefits and learnings of electronic prescriptions

The patient will always have the choice to get their next repeat dispensed at a different pharmacy. All they’ll need to do is present the new token when more medicine is needed.

Listen to the latest podcast

Hear from professionals who are already using electronic prescribing, discover the benefits and find out how to get ready for implementation.

Listen to more podcasts

 

How it will work

Token - currently available

  1. A patient attends the doctor and requires a prescription.

  2. If the patient chooses, an electronic prescription is provided.

  3. The patient receives an SMS or email message with a token from their doctor which they provide to their preferred pharmacy.

  4. The pharmacy scans the token to view the electronic prescription and supply the medicine.

  5. If the prescription has repeats, then a new token is provided to the patient via SMS or email by the pharmacy.

Active Script List - available soon

A patient may want their electronic prescriptions in a consolidated list so that they can be more easily managed.

  1. A patient attends their preferred pharmacy prior to attending the doctor and​​​​​​ requests to be registered for an ASL. The patient needs to accept the terms and conditions, agreeing that all prescriptions will go to their ASL unless they withdraw their consent.
  2. The patient attends the doctor and requires a prescription.
  3. If the patient chooses, an electronic prescription is provided and is automatically added to the ASL unless they ask the doctor not to. The patient does not need a token but can receive one if they want.
  4. The patient then presents to their preferred pharmacy, validates their identity and receives their medicine.
  5. If there are repeats, they will be added to the ASL depending on the patient’s choice.

An electronic prescription is a legal form of prescription – PBS and state and territory legal requirements apply.

State and territory regulations

The same regulations for prescribing and supplying medicines exist for both paper and electronic prescriptions. Clinicians are required to adhere to the National Health Act and relevant state or territory regulations when prescribing and supplying medicines using an electronic prescription. This is particularly important for controlled medicines. Please contact your relevant jurisdiction for more information.

Safeguards are in place to prevent patients using their token at multiple pharmacies.

The token itself is not the prescription; however, it is evidence of a prescription. Once the token is scanned and used by a pharmacy to dispense the medicine, it is invalid and cannot be reused. The prescription delivery service will lock a prescription as soon as it is accessed, so no other pharmacy can dispense it at the same time.