What You Need to Know About Electronic Prescriptions

Safe electronic prescriptions

What is an electronic prescription? How does it work? What are some benefits of using e-prescriptions and how can Medmate help?

Electronic prescriptions are now available across Australia. Electronic prescriptions are an alternative to paper prescriptions allowing patients more choice and convenient access to their medicines. They are in the form of secure QR code. Countries like the United Kingdom have been using electronic prescriptions for several years and they are now the most common form of prescription in the UK.  It’s fantastic that all Australians now have access to this safe and convenient technology.

Electronic prescriptions are safely sent to pharmacies with the Medmate app.

How do you use electronic prescriptions?

Electronic prescriptions are issued in a regular consultation with a doctor. The majority of general practitioners and pharmacists are able to prescribe and dispense electronic scripts. So, patients can simply walk into a pharmacy and have the E-Script scanned, or even more conveniently, have the E-Script sent to a pharmacy via a conformant (Australian Government approved) mobile app. A conformant electronic prescription app is a mobile application that can access the National Prescription Database for validation.

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How do you validate electronic prescriptions are legitimate?

Electronic prescriptions must be validated to ensure the prescription is legitimate and active and has not been cancelled by the prescriber or previously dispensed. Conformant apps such as Medmate ensure only valid and active eScripts are received by a pharmacy, which means when a pharmacy receives a script, the pharmacist can confidently dispense it.

Non-conformant mobile apps do not validate the eScript, which means there are legitimacy, security and safety risks around the dispensing of the script. Worryingly, invalid and fraudulent scripts can be received into pharmacies through these unsecure processes placing the patient and pharmacist at risk.

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has a register of conforming software products to ensure that software developers are creating software that is conformant to government legislation, and for healthcare providers and vendors to understand which software companies are conformant.

Use a safe and conformant mobile application.

So, if you are a GP or a Pharmacist, please advise your patients to use a safe mobile application. It’s important that patients use secure government approved electronic prescription ordering systems. Medmate and MyPharmacylink are Australian Government conformant mobile intermediary applications ensuring all scripts are validated and legitimate.

What are the benefits of eScripts for your patients?

Makes telehealth easier

With the stimulus of the COVID-19 is any indicator, it looks like Medicare-subsidised telehealth consultations are here to stay.

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.

Patients can have a telehealth consultation with your doctors and have medication arrive on their doorstep in 60 mins.

So important for patients in isolation, with a disability, have limited transport or are simply too busy to get to the pharmacy.

Reduces environmental impact

One of the major carbon minimizing 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.

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.

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.

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

Get help with Medmate.

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.

Not yet set up for e-scripts?

Contact us at enquiry@medmate.com.au

  • Dr Ganesh Naidoo
  • About the Author

    Dr Ganesh Naidoo BSc(biomed), MBBS, FRACGP is an Australian General Practitioner. He has significant clinical experience in multiple regions of Australia and has a passion for health transformation to improve clinical outcomes for all patients.

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