Electronic transfer of prescription helps with medication reconciliation

Lack of consolidated medications information is one of the key problems GPs continue to face especially with patients who have multiple providers and who have had been admitted to hospital multiple times. This is a challenge particularly when a patient moves between hospital care, and community and aged care. Good quality and up-to-date clinical data can contribute to these interactions being risk free, preventing medication misadventures and unnecessary hospital readmissions.

The National eHealth Strategy developed by Deloitte in 2008 reported that 10% of hospital admissions are due to adverse drug events and that one quarter of a clinician’s time is wasted seeking information about patients’ medications. Therefore electronic transfer of prescription (ETP) is a vital piece of the digital health infrastructure of Australia. It consists of the safe and secure transmission of prescription and dispensing data between authorised doctors and the pharmacists.

For the practices who are participating in the Digital Health Practice Incentive Payment it is the fourth requirement. When ETP is working correctly the GPs notice a barcode appearing every time they print a prescription. The prescription with the barcode gets sent to the national prescription exchange and when the patient presents to the pharmacy with the prescription the pharmacist scans the barcode to bring up the prescription on their software. If the patient has a My Health Record the prescription and dispense record gets uploaded to the patient's My Health Record.

More than seven million prescription and dispense records were uploaded to the My Health Record system by health care providers and pharmacists in December 2016, which is indicative of the use of ETP by GPs and pharmacists.

For more information about ETP visit NPS Medicinewise or get in touch with the Digital Health Team.