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Electronic Prescriptions

Electronic Prescriptions supports the safe and secure transfer of prescription information between a prescriber (doctor, specialist, dentist, optometrist, nurse practitioner) and a dispenser (pharmacist) using an electronic system known as a Prescription Exchange Service.

About Electronic Prescriptions

Electronic Prescriptions aim to enhance patient medication safety and the patient’s overall experience within the health care system. Patients can still choose which pharmacy they attend to fill their prescription.

Electronic prescribing is not mandatory, and patients and prescribers will be able to choose electronic or paper prescriptions.

Software vendors have implemented electronic prescribing functionality in their clinical systems. It is recommended that practices upgrade to the latest version of their clinical system to enable electronic prescribing functionality.

Why use Electronic Prescriptions?

Benefits of Electronic Prescriptions include:

  • Reducing the administrative burden for health care providers and organisations (e.g. more effective management of prescription refill requests)
  • Supporting patient choice of prescriber and pharmacy
  • Reducing prescription and transcription errors
  • Contactless method protects community members and health care providers from exposure to infectious diseases (e.g., COVID-19)
  • Maintaining patient privacy and integrity of personal information.

Preparing your General Practice

Ensure the following information is updated in the clinical information system:

  • full name
  • gender
  • DOB
  • Medicare/DVA Number

The Australian Digital Health Agency has a dedicated webpage for prescribers, explaining how the process will work.

How to prepare your practice for Electronic Prescriptions

  • Ensure your practice has a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation.
  • Confirm with your software provider whether a NASH or Medicare PKI certificate is required for access to the HI service and link it to the HPI-O
  • Ensure your practice is connected to a Prescription Delivery Service such as eRx or MediSecure
  • Install upgraded software and input HPI-O, Healthcare Provider Identifier-Individual (HPIIs) and validate patient Individual Healthcare Identifier
  • Update your patients’ and their carers’ contact details within your clinical information system (mobile phone number/email)
  • Stay up-to-date with relevant State and Territory legislation
  • Discuss workflow suitable for your practice and keep your staff informed
  • Keep in touch with your local pharmacies to check whether they are enabled to dispense electronic prescriptions for your patients.

Preparing your Pharmacy

If you are a pharmacy interested in adopting Electronic Prescriptions, the Australian Digital Health Agency has published a dedicated webpage explaining how this process will work.

How to prepare your pharmacy for Electronic Prescriptions

  • Ensure your pharmacy has a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-O)
  • Confirm with your software provider whether a NASH or Medicare PKI certificate is required for access to the HI service and link it to the HPI-O
  • Ensure your pharmacy is connected to a Prescription Delivery Service such as eRx or MediSecure
  • Install upgraded software and input HPI-O, Healthcare Provider Identifier-Individual (HPI-Is) and validate patient Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHIs)
  • Update your patients’ and their carers’ contact details within your clinical information system (mobile phone number/email)
  • Stay up-to-date with relevant State and Territory legislation
  • Discuss workflow suitable for your pharmacy and keep your staff informed
  • Ensure your pharmacy uses compatible scanners
  • Keep in touch with your local prescribers and general practices to let them know your pharmacy is ready to dispense electronic prescriptions.

Active Ingredient Prescribing

Active Ingredient Prescribing is now mandatory after the Department of Health changed legislation so that Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation PBS (RPBS) medicines must be prescribed using the active ingredient names, instead of the brand name of a medicine.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care have created the following resources to support clinicians with active ingredient prescribing:

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