Paperless scripts surprise

Rr 2018 May22

Government needs to spell out the detail around Budget e-script announcement, Guild says

Pharmacy stakeholders are as yet unaware of concrete plans to help the sector be ready for the government’s October 2019 deadline for electronic prescribing.

Last week’s Federal Budget announced $28.2 million was to be dedicated over five years from 2017-18 to upgrade the e-prescribing software system used by clinicians.

“This measure supports a national electronic prescribing system that will contribute to PBS efficiency, compliance, drug safety and data collection,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said.

According to the Budget papers, this  ‘paperless’ prescription plan is scheduled to begin from 10 October 2019.

According to the Budget papers: “It will enable prescribers to use clinical prescribing software to issue an electronic PBS prescription as a legal form of prescription. Currently all prescriptions are paper based. This measure gives prescribers and consumers the option of a full digital experience.

“Their prescription will be able to be electronically transmitted from the prescriber to the pharmacy, reducing the reliance on paper and manual processing.”

However the Pharmacy Guild of Australia is seeking to gain more information around this date, and the government’s plans, which both the Guild and other industry stakeholders were unaware of in advance of the announcement.

In a message to Pharmacy Guild members, national president George Tambassis said the Guild would “work to ensure that any e-scripts regime maintains the crucial role of community pharmacy in delivering quality use of medicines for patients, and does not undermine patient choice through prescription channelling”.

The Budget announcement had said “the upgrades will make the system more user-friendly and enable prescribers to better identify prescribing options that best meet the needs of their patients, with doctors to
retain the final say in advising patients on which medicines to use”.