Australia’s national electronic prescription network has been completed, with the Northern Territory the last state or territory to begin issuing and dispensing paperless prescriptions.
Pharmacy IT solutions provider Fred IT on Thursday said it had finished the rollout of its eRx Script Exchange, allowing ePrescriptions to be transacted across all eight jurisdictions.
It comes four months after the country’s first ePrescription was issued and dispensed by Anglesea Medical and Anglesea Pharmacy in Victoria.
In response to Victoria’s ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is now looking to increase electronic prescription capabilities across greater Melbourne.
The NT’s first ePrescription was dispensed at Alice Springs Pharmacy on September 1 using Best Practice GP software for prescribing and Fred Dispense with MedView Flow.
Before a prescription is dispensed, the patient is required to present an ePrescription token - or code - sent via SMS or email by their doctor. This is referred to as the ‘token’ model.
For Alice Springs Pharmacy manager Anandh Vijayan, electronic prescriptions will “make it easier for patients to access their medications” in the NT.
“Alice Springs has a large number of tourists and visitors from other parts of the country who will now be able to access medications from their GP while they are visiting,” he said.
“It will also save our pharmacy considerable time that we would otherwise spend dealing with fax copies and having to chase up originals.”
ADHA acting chief operating officer Rupert Lee added that ePrescriptions would be particularly useful in the NT given the remote location of some patients, prescribers and pharmacies.
Fred IT CEO Paul Naismith said the development was a “significant leap forward for healthcare in Australia” and “vital to modern healthcare delivery”.
“Behind the scenes, this has occurred as a result of enormous industry collaboration across the states and territories,” he said.
Preparations are also continuing for the launch of an Active Script List later this year, which will operate alongside the token model to improve how patients digitally access scripts.
Active Script List will allow patients to “share scripts with their doctors and pharmacists, and [make] it faster and more efficient to get scripts dispensed”, Fred IT said.