Education toolkits for general practice

Digital initiatives to support medicines safety

1. Electronic prescribing

Last revised: 29 May 2024

1. Electronic prescribing

Definition

Electronic prescribing allows for the prescribing and dispensing of medicines without the need for a paper prescription.

Electronic prescribing is an alternative to paper prescriptions, providing patients with convenient access to their medicines, and improving safety by reducing the risk of transcription errors.

For more information on electronic prescribing for healthcare providers, visit digitalhealth.gov.au.

Benefits

Electronic prescribing:

  • Is convenient for patients
  • Reduces the administrative burden for healthcare providers
  • Supplements the delivery of telehealth
  • Ensures that patient information remains secure and private through data encryption
  • Reduces risk of losing prescriptions
  • Reduces risk of transcription errors.

Process

Patients can choose to receive an electronic prescription in the form of an unique QR code instead of a paper prescription (not both). They can opt to receive the electronic prescription via SMS or email (though the electronic prescription can also be printed and given to the patient). As with a paper prescription, the patient gives the electronic prescription to the pharmacy. The pharmacist scans the QR code and dispenses the medicine. Repeat prescriptions, if any, are sent via SMS or email back to the patient.

Active Script List (ASL)

Patients can register for an Active Script List (ASL) which is a digital list of their active electronic prescriptions. When the patient attends a participating pharmacy, they can provide consent for that pharmacy to access their ASL and dispense their medicines without having to find and present individual QR codes from their SMSs or emails. All electronic prescriptions that patient is issued will be added automatically to their ASL (unless they have notified the prescriber not to add a prescription to their ASL). This reduces the risk of misplacing electronic prescriptions, which might be particularly useful for patients with multiple medicines.

Computer generated paper prescriptions with a barcode will appear in the ASL, but will not be available for dispensing unless the paper prescription is presented.

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

Did you know you can now log your CPD with a click of a button?

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