Deadline looms for sign-up to centralised prescribing

Jolyon Attwooll

17/08/2023 3:34:36 PM

The Department of Health and Aged Care is urging practices that have not registered for the national Prescription Delivery Service to do so.

Person presenting e-prescription
More than 150 million e-prescriptions have been issued since May 2020.

Reimbursement for an e-prescription SMS will stop from 30 September unless prescribers have signed up to the new national Prescription Delivery Service (PDS), the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoH) has warned.
It said practice owners and managers should check whether they have registered and if their software providers advise any necessary updates.
The centralised PDS, run by eRx Script Exchange, is designed to streamline prescription delivery and dispensing, according to the DoH.
A $99.6 million deal was signed this May, with eRx Script Exchange contracted to provide the PDS from 1 July this year until 30 June 2027.
According to Services Australia, clinicians and pharmacies need to connect to the PDS by the end of next month to continue prescribing or dispensing eligible medications.
Reimbursements for e-prescription tokens are currently paid by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), an arrangement that had been extended several times while DoH officials considered a permanent solution.  
The Government-funded prescription exchange will continue to cover SMS fees but only for practices that have signed up to the new PDS.
The DoH says the move to the new system will simplify the prescribing process, as well as give ‘long-term funding certainty to enable innovation and efficiency … clearer governance … and enhanced capacity for patient-centred support and care’.
The DoH says other policy reforms, including the mandated use of e-prescribing for high risk and high-cost medicines, ‘are on the horizon’.
The move to a model directly contracted by the Federal Government was announced as part of the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement, with the tender going out in June last year.
The majority of practices are believed to have signed up to eRx Script Exchange already, and do not need to take further action.
Set up in April 2009, the prescription exchange service is a subsidiary of the Fred IT Group, which is part owned by the Pharmacy Guild.
The other software vendor that runs a prescription exchange service, MediSecure, will continue providing private prescriptions, which will remain free to send by SMS or email after the transition period according to a statement on the company’s website.
The ADHA states there have now been more than 150 million e-prescriptions issued since May 2020, with the pandemic proving a significant catalyst.
To register GPs for the PDS, go to the eRx Script Exchange website.
Resources on e-prescribing including CPD-accredited training are available on the ADHA website.
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Dr Kyria Laird   18/08/2023 11:36:34 AM

To clarify - the government has awarded a $100M contract to a company owned by the pharmacy guild, that creates a monopoly and removes any competition with regards to e-prescribing? Sounds like a win win win for the pharmacy guild....

Dr Mark Warwick Simcoe-Fitzmaurice   18/08/2023 2:01:30 PM

We have been using eRx for months. Does that mean we are registered or do we need to do something else?