By Medical Director and CEO of Medmate, Dr Ganesh Naidoo
Recently introduced electronic prescriptions – or e-scripts – are quickly revolutionising the way we prescribe and dispense medicines, and it’s all for the betterment of public health.
The accelerated introduction of e-scripts in Australia, primarily due to COVID-19, has paved the way for a safer, more efficient, accurate and convenient prescribing experience for doctors, pharmacists and patients.
As a GP, the health and safety of my patients is front and centre, which is why I’ve strongly embraced e-scripts as the way forward.
Here are 5 ways e-scripts are helping my patients and how they can help yours too.
1. Improved health outcomes through better adherence
The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 50% of patients do not adhere fully to their medication treatment, and as rates of chronic disease grow, non-adherence will only rise.[i] This represents a huge opportunity for improvement – one that e-prescribing can help with.
A study conducted by the USA’s largest health information network, Surescripts, linked e-prescribing to a 10% increase in first-fill medication adherence (i.e. new prescriptions that were picked up by the patient) compared to when the patients used paper scripts.[ii]
As Australia progresses along this same path, we’ll be set to realise similar improvements, leading to better health outcomes and decreased Government healthcare costs.
2. Improved patient safety and reduced prescription errors
According to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, between 2% and 3% of all Australian hospital admissions are medication-related.[iii] This suggests that at least 230,000 admissions annually are caused by patients taking too much or too little of a medicine, or taking the wrong medicine.[iii]
These errors can occur for a number of reasons, including human error and other factors affecting how medicines are prescribed, dispensed or administered.
E-Prescribing software eliminates handwriting errors (for those still using handwritten scripts), ensures more complete prescriptions, and gives both the doctors and pharmacists access to a patient’s prescription history to reduce the chance of the wrong medication being dispensed.
Aged care facilities in particular will benefit from this change. A recent article in the Australian Ageing Agenda noted that that errors associated with medication management were the most common complaint arising from residential aged care facilities.[iv] Professor Johanna Westbrook, director of the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research at Macquarie University was quoted. She said that on average, each aged care resident had nearly 10 discrepancies between the GP’s medication records and the records kept at the facility.
By offering a single source of truth about a patient’s medication profile, e-scripts (Active Script List) can significantly help with this lack of consistency and the errors that occur during transitions of care and changes to medication therapy.
3. Offers greater choice and convenience for patients
For patients living with medical conditions that render them unable to travel far or to easily access a doctor’s clinic or pharmacy, or for those who are time poor, e-prescriptions offer a much easier and convenient way to receive and fulfil prescriptions. This digital option means there’s no need to handle and store paper scripts and no issues with losing scripts.
To streamline the medication fulfillment process further, patients can use Medmate. It’s Australia’s first e-script app that allows you to store e-scripts, have them filled at a pharmacy of your choice, and then have your medications delivered, all from the comfort of your home.
Medmate is a secure app designed by Australian doctors and pharmacists to overcome the difficulties many patients experience getting their needed medications.
The app also allows users to:
· book face-to-face or telehealth doctor appointments to get scripts
· track medications with medication reminders and automated script refilling
· manage medications for family members
· download e-referrals for services such as pathology and radiology
Medmate has currently partnered with 1,070 GP clinics and approximately 5,000 prescribers in Victoria and is piloting the technology in six Melbourne suburbs prior to national rollout.
The company’s roadmap involves digitally enabling over 1000 supporting community pharmacies by the end of the year.
4. Makes telehealth easier
If COVID-19 is any indicator, it looks like Medicare-subsidised telehealth consultations are here to stay, at least for now.
E-scripts are a natural extension of telehealth services, helping to further enhance continuity of patient care. The contactless consultation and script services also protects healthcare providers and patients from exposure to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
For the most seamless patient health journey, pair these services with Medmate.
5. Reduces environmental impact
One of the major carbon minimising steps we can take is to reduce paper by stopping the printing of scripts and referrals. By switching to e-scripts you will save paper, toner, printers and cost, and both you and your patients will feel better about leaving less of a carbon footprint.
We are passionate about improving medicines access for all Australians.
Support your telehealth service (and face-to-face consults) with e-scripts coupled with home medication delivery from the patient’s pharmacy of choice. Our team is ready to help your practice setup for e-scripts and educate your clinical and administrative teams to introduce this amazing technology to your patients.
Contact us at email@example.com
Not yet set up for e-scripts?