Over 12 million e-prescriptions issued in Australia

Over 22,000 healthcare providers are now issuing e-prescriptions.

Over 12 million electronic prescriptions have been issued in Australia, as healthcare providers and patients go digital, data from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) revealed.

“Electronic prescriptions are providing a safer, faster, and more efficient supply of prescriptions to Australians – in person via their doctor or via a telehealth consultation – sent straight to their mobile phone or by email,” ADHA’s CEO Amanda Cattermole said.

More than 22,000 prescribers are now issuing electronic prescriptions to patients and at least 98% of all community pharmacies around the country are dispensing them, Cattermole noted.

Charlotte Hespe, a general practitioner with a practice in inner-city Sydney, said the transition to electronic prescriptions is straightforward for GPs, noting that most practice management software now has the capability to issue electronic prescriptions.

“If it is a patient’s choice to receive an electronic prescription instead of a paper prescription, then the GP just needs to select the electronic script option instead of ‘print’ when issuing a prescription,” Hespe said.

In October 2020, Sydney’s five million residents were given access to e-prescriptions, including communities from Hornsby Shire in the north, to the city of Campbelltown in the south, and the city of Penrith in the west. This followed the rollout across all of Victoria in September.

Through this, a patient seeking an e-prescription from their doctor will have their doctor select this option in their software when creating the prescription and the patient will receive an SMS or email. The patient then takes this to their preferred pharmacy.

The SMS or email contains a QR code "token" that unlocks the electronic prescription from a secure, encrypted electronic prescription delivery service. Once scanned, the token allows the pharmacist to view the prescription and dispense the medicine.

Last June, ADHA rolled out Provider Connect Australia, where healthcare provider organisations around the country can update information about their healthcare services and practitioners in just one place using eliminating the need to keep multiple directories up-to-date manually.

Healthcare provider organisations have previously been required to complete between 10 and 20 different paper or online forms to notify different parts of the healthcare system whenever their service or practitioner information changes.

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