Under the National Health Plan for COVID-19, the Australian Government has accelerated the delivery of electronic prescribing to help protect people most at-risk in our community from exposure to COVID-19.
How it will work – Token method
- A patient attends the doctor and requires a prescription.
- If the patient chooses, an electronic prescription is provided.
- The patient receives an SMS or email message with a unique QR code or ‘token’ which they provide to their preferred pharmacy.
- The pharmacy scans the token to view the electronic prescription and supply the medicine.
- If the prescription has repeats, then a new token is provided to the patient via SMS or email by the pharmacy.
Only an authorised prescriber can generate an electronic prescription, which is securely transmitted to a prescription delivery service. The electronic prescription is then available for dispensing and supplied through dispensing software at the pharmacy.
*Electronic prescribing is not mandatory. Patients will have a choice to receive either an electronic or a paper prescription from their prescriber (but not both).
What are the benefits of electronic prescribing?
- 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.
- Supporting patient choice of prescriber and pharmacy.
A register of conforming software products has been created to ensure that software developers are creating software that is conformant to government legislation, and for healthcare providers and vendors to understand which software companies are conformant.
Readiness checklist for prescribers:
- Ensure your practice has Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-O) and is connected to the Healthcare Identifiers (HI) service. This is a core requirement for electronic prescribing
- Ensure your practice is connected to Prescription Delivery Service (eRx/MediSecure)
- Update your patients’ and their carers’ contact details on file (mobile and email)
- Make sure local pharmacy details are up to date in your clinical software
- Subscribe to your software provider’s newsletters and correspondence
- Stay up to date with communications from peak organisations
- Keep your staff informed about electronic prescribing and how they may respond to questions from patients
- Stay up to date with relevant State and Territory legislative amendments
- Check the Australian Digital Health Agency website for electronic prescribing information and updates
The Department of Health has general information about Electronic Prescriptions here.