ePrescribing: Why getting it right is better than doing it fast
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ePrescribing: Why getting it right is better than doing it fast

Written by Dr Charlotte Middleton. Originally appeared on LinkedIn, reposted here with permission.

There has been a lot of discussion about ePrescribing, at least in the GP networks I am part of, and I’ve noticed a worrying tendency to think of the roll-out as a competition to see who can be ready first. Some software providers are even positioning ePrescribing capability as a competitive advantage, an approach that I believe will do more harm than good.

If it’s going to work properly, ePrescribing really needs to be a whole-of-industry initiative. Instead of thinking of it as a sprint, let’s think of it more as a relay where GPs, pharmacists and patients all need to be in position before the starting gun goes off. It might take more time in the beginning, but it’ll save us all a lot of fumbling down the track.

Yes, GP software platforms need to have the tech ready and enabled. However, GPs also need to know how and when to provide an ePrescription, pharmacies need to have the tech enabled to receive ePrescriptions, and patients need to be educated so they feel comfortable and confident about the changes.

There is no point prescribing a medication that a pharmacy can’t fill

It’s all very well to have ePrescribing enabled on your GP software platform, but if a pharmacy is not able to dispense your ePrescription, then it’s not a lot of use.

With the workload on GPs, especially at this time, it would not be realistic to expect us to phone pharmacies in advance to find out which ones are ePrescribing enabled. Likewise, patients shouldn’t have to go from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find one who can dispense using the new token or active script list methods.

The last thing we want is patients coming back into the practice needing to revert to traditional prescriptions, and paying for additional consultations to do so. If we wait until everyone is ready, we can avoid this kind of scenario which is frustrating for everyone, not to mention costly for patients.

No one size fits all for state legislation

GP software providers also need to take into consideration the differences between legislation in Australian states. For example, MedicalDirector will enable ePrescribing at a state-by-state level in line with the ADHA’s timelines, as we believe it would be irresponsible to roll this out for every state in one go.

Let’s all slow down and make sure we get this right, for patients, for the GPs prescribing, and for the pharmacies dispensing. We have a responsibility as an industry to enable ideal healthcare, not disrupt it.

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