Moving towards a paper-free system has increasingly been a goal of the Australian Healthcare framework in recent years – and the coronavirus fast-tracked some elements of that goal. Electronic prescriptions for medications are one example of that goal becoming realised.
Electronic prescribing allows providers, practices, and patients to enjoy a more efficient and hassle-free dispensing process. E-prescriptions (E-scripts) can be sent straight from the provider to the patient or pharmacy in the form of a digital token, helping to improve workflow without the need for a paper prescription. Prescriptions are sent to patients as part of an SMS or email, and the token (a barcode or QR code) can be scanned by the pharmacy and dispensed as usual – as if it were a ticket for a flight or a concert.
Some of the benefits of e-scripts include:
- Greater process efficiency; e-scripts are sent instantly, making life easier for everyone involved. Patients are less likely to lose their script, and pharmacists can receive a script directly from a doctor rather than through fax. Refills can also be processed in real time, given the process is digital, in a way that physical scripts don’t allow for.
- Easy database maintenance; pharmacists don’t need to store physical paperwork and dispensing information can autofill, with no need to transcribe anything. This not only reduces the amount of error or confusion for the pharmacist (there’s no need try to translate doctor-writing over the phone), but also means that pharmacies no longer need to keep A-Z binder folders full of medical information for patients they haven’t seen in years.
- Increased knowledge base; pharmacists can check the database in real-time to reconcile a patient’s current medications against what the doctor is suggesting and avoid drug interactions or double ups. Further, e-prescribing supports digital health services like telehealth consults to ensure there’s continuity of care when a patient might see a different provider to their usual doctor. Doctors can also adjust their suggestions based on age and weight changes for a patient over time.
- Increased security; when online, medical databases can be maintained in a much more secure and controlled manner, with a smaller chance of error.
Hola Meds embraces the introduction of e-scripts, and we’re excited to launch its own integration of e-script technology into the app over the coming weeks (at the time of writing). Utilising e-scripts also provides an opportunity to get ahead and protect community members from infectious disease, especially when coupled with medical delivery; during a global pandemic, there’s never been a great focus on the ability to limit interactions and be contactless when possible – and should Australia suffer another run of Covid lock-ins, having the flexibility of e-prescribing and greater access to digital health will be a huge asset.
E-scripts work just as easily in-app as physical scripts, and will make the entire process of medical delivery even more efficient for everyone – so consider ditching the paper script, and using a token next time you need a script filled!