ePrescribing Webinar Resources
Electronic prescribing is now available in a number of areas in Victoria with further rollout expected over late 2020. As more and more practices and pharmacies become ePrescription enabled, it is important that prescribers keep up to date with developments.
This page contains the recorded AMA Victoria webinar on this important topic, which brought together an expert panel of Project Pharmacist Mr Jarrod McMaugh and Melbourne-based GPs Dr Nathan Pinskier and Dr Mukesh Haikerwal.
During the rollout phase, it is important that prescribers are aware of local pharmacies who are ePresctiption-enabled, and that prescribers educate their patient on the use of the token system. Paper scripts will be available. Practices will need to ensure their software is updated to enable ePrescribing, and check which local pharmacies are ePresription capable.
The recording of the webinar and other resources can be viewed below:
The following resources will help you set up your practice for this change and understand your role as a prescriber:
- Australian Digital Health Agency
- ADHA announce the early rollout of ePrescribing across the Greater Melbourne region
- ePrescribing FAQ’s for doctors
- What can I do to prepare my practice for electronic prescription?
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
- Federal government
- eRx Script Exchange
- Electronic Prescribing Conformance Register
- Consumers Health Forum
- North Western PHN
- ADHA ePrescribing webinar (registration required)
- ADHA webinar: General Practice Electronic Prescriptions Update - 27 August
Prescription exchange service
A frequently asked questions section can be accessed below.
- Your practice will need a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-O) with connection to the HI service. Further information can be found here. A Prescription Delivery Service connection, via eRx or MediSecure is also needed.
- Ensure you update patient and carer contact details including the mobile phone number and/or email.
- Contact your software provider and subscribe to their newsletters and other correspondence to keep updated and check in with the Australian Digital Health Agency website regularly for updates.
- Ensure you are familiar with the Victorian legislation around ePrescribing here.
- View medicine regulatory requirements for health practitioners during COVID-19
- Keep your staff informed about ePrescribing and how they may respond to patients’ questions about electronic prescriptions
Is ePrescribing mandatory?
No, you can continue to issue paper prescriptions.
Can I prescribe S8 medications, S100 medications and benzodiazepines using e Prescribing?
Yes, any medication, aside from a select few that require written approval, can be prescribed via an ePresctiption. Prescribers should continue to check SafeScript and ensure there is a valid permit, when required. Hand annotation is not required for an electronic prescription.
How does a patient receive a token?
A token can be sent as an SMS, email or via an app downloaded to the patient's smart device.
Can ePrescriptions be shared (for example, given to a family member to take to the pharmacy)?
Yes, but it requires a person being able to receive the token, and then transmit it to the pharmacy of choice. Once a pharmacy receives the prescription and dispenses the medication, the patient, or a nominated person, can pick it up. Please note that the token cannot be directly transmitted to the pharmacy due to the requirement for the process to be patient-centered (including by giving the patient the choice of where they fill their prescription). By contrast, digital image scripts had to go directly to the pharmacy due to the risk of faxed/emailed scripts being duplicated.
Does the patient need to have a mobile phone in order to receive the token?
No, the token can also be emailed and viewed on a computer or any other device with email capability. The QR code can then be printed out or forwarded, for example, to a carer or family member, and taken to the pharmacy. You can also print the token out for the patient instead of sending it electronically. Remember that paper scripts can still be issued and may be more suitable for some patients.
What is a community of interest?
A community of interest is a location in which a trial of ePrescribing is taking place. Further information can be found here.
Can hospital doctors, nurse practitioners and non-GP specialists utilise ePrescriptions?
The legislation allows for all prescribers to use electronic prescriptions. However, the software they use must be compatible. At the moment, only General Practice software is compatible.
Is a token and a script the same thing?
No, a token is a QR code coupled withinformation about the prescription, such as the medication name, and provides the pharmacist with access to the script, but it is not a script itself. The script is held in the cloud and accessed via a script exchange service. The token remains active until such time as the medication is dispensed from the corresponding script. A separate token will be sent to the patient for each individual script.
Is there a link between ePrescriptions and MyHealth Record (MHR)?
Yes, when a PBS medication is dispensed from an ePrescription it will appear on the patient’s MyHealth Record. The time frame for this depends on whether the pharmacy is set up to operate with MyHealth Record (5-10mins) or not (6 weeks).
Do patients need an MHR to access ePrescriptions?
No, ePrescriptions are sent directly to the patient via email or SMS.
I need IT and software advice and support, where can I get this?
Please contact your IT support service and software provider for assistance.
Are ePrescriptions valid Australia-wide?
Yes, provided the pharmacy is ePresctiption enabled.
Which pharmacies are ePrescription enabled and can I send the token directly to the pharmacy?
The number of pharmacies capable of dispensing from ePresctiptions is expanding. You can check directly with your local pharmacies or email the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) for further information and support on 1300 955 162. Pharmacies can also contact PSA for assistance and support in setting up their dispensary for ePrescriptions.
As the patient retains the right to their choice of pharmacy, it is not possible to electronically send an ePrescription directly to a pharmacy.
Can a pharmacist alter ePrescriptions after discussion with the prescriber?
Mistakes can happen when prescribing using any format. If a potential error is detected by a pharmacist, they will make contact with the prescriber to seek clarification. Although the legal framework is in place for a pharmacist to be able to alter a script after discussion with the prescriber, currently dispensing software does not include the functionality to allow a pharmacist to alter an ePrescription. If an error is made, the prescriber must cancel the incorrect ePrescription and issue a new one with the correct details before it can be dispensed. As the patient retains the right to their choice of pharmacy, it is not possible for the prescriber to send an ePrescription directly to a pharmacy. It must go to the patient.
What happens to repeats on an ePrescription?
The pharmacy dispensing software sends a new, updated token to the patient if there are repeats remaining. The token contains information about how many repeats remain. This way, the patient is always in control of their repeat prescriptions.
If the token, is lost is the script lost? Can I reissue an ePrescription?
As the token is not a legal document it can be duplicated, and this also means that you can resend it to the patient and you have not re-generated the prescription. It also means that the patient can print the token and keep as many copies as they like. Once the token is used to dispense the medication, all copies of the token become invalid. If the token is lost, the script still remains in the cloud.
Will I still be able to fax a paper script to the pharmacy?
DHHS has announced the extension of digital image prescriptions and expanded emergency supply (Public Health Emergency Orders #2 and #4) until March 2021. This means that prescribers can continue to digitally transmit paper scripts directly to pharmacies and pharmacists can dispense an emergency supply of some medications without a script to those affected by COVID-19.
Can a paper script be turned into an ePrescription and vice versa?
No. Once the prescriber issues the prescription, the format cannot be changed. It must be re-prescribed. Please note that if the prescriber re-issues the script as a paper script, the ePrescription should be deleted from the cloud, otherwise it will continue to exist there.
Can I still prescribe on paper?
Yes. Currently, ePrescriptions do not replace paper prescriptions. You can also prescribe as an ePrescription and print off the QR code to give to the patient.
Can ePrescribing be used in residential aged care facilities?
Yes, although the practicalities of getting the token to the patient or their nominated agent will need to be considered.