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Doctor Kean-Seng Lim sitting at computer

Electronic prescribing

For prescribers

Over 114 million electronic prescriptions have been issued since May 2020, by more than 50,000 prescribers - GPs and nurse practitioners. 

- February 2023

Getting started

  • 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
  • Check to ensure you know any legal rules that are specific to your state or territory such as the management of controlled medicines.
  • Keep your staff informed about electronic prescribing and how they may respond to patient’s questions about electronic prescriptions.
Online training

CPD accredited free online training for prescribers providing an introduction to what an electronic prescription is, how it is prescribed, and the policy requirements and legislation that underpin the process.

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 available nationally as a ‘token’ or an Active Script List.

The Active Script List (ASL) is a token management solution that provides further convenience for patients, especially those who are on multiple medicines. The ASL is a list of all active electronic prescriptions and repeats available to be dispensed.

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.

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 works


  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 (ASL)

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.

Check with your software provider to ensure your software is up to date.

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.