National rollout of electronic prescriptions now in South Australia

26 Nov 2020

South Australia will soon have access to electronic prescribing after successful rollouts in Victoria and metropolitan Sydney.

The AMA has worked with other clinical and peak bodies, South Australian Primary Health Networks (PHN), clinical providers, the Commonwealth Department of Health, and the Digital Health Agency to support doctors and pharmacists in South Australia to enable electronic prescribing across the state. This new technology will provide a safer and more convenient supply of medicines for patients.

The following steps will help your general practice get ready for electronic prescribing:

  1. Ensure your Healthcare Identifier Service and Prescription Delivery Service connections are up to date.
  2. Software activation - contact your software supplier and ask them to activate your electronic prescribing functionality.
  3. Communication between local community pharmacies and general practices is critical - this will ensure everyone is ready to write and dispense an electronic prescription (noting some pharmacies may require more time and resources to get their dispensing workflow ready). Patients may experience a delay in accessing their medicines including having to return to general practice for a paper prescription if this step is not undertaken.
  4. Stay informed - attend webinars, listen to podcasts and education sessions and access resources available from the Australian Digital Health Agency, Department of Health, and PHNs to learn more about electronic prescribing and how it works.

General practices in other areas of Australia are also being advised to prepare for a broader rollout by getting software ready and participating in training opportunities being provided by the Agency, peak bodies and software providers.

Schedule 8 and 4D medicines

All medicines, including Schedule 8 and 4D medicines, can be prescribed and dispensed through an electronic prescription providing patients with a safe and secure way of obtaining medicines remotely.

Unlike a request for a Schedule 8 or 4D medicine using a digital image of a prescription via fax or email, the prescriber is not required to send an original hard copy of the prescription to the pharmacy - the electronic (paperless) prescription is the legal order to prescribe and supply.

Patient Choice

It is important to remember that electronic prescriptions are an alternative to paper. If the patient prefers to have their prescription provided by paper, then GPs can continue to support the patient’s preference.

For more information about electronic prescribing see the Department of Health website, and the Australian Digital Health Agency website.

For practice support in South Australia, contact the practice support team at your local PHN:

Read the Joint Communique: National rollout of electronic prescriptions now supporting South Australia  here.