Snap or scan: apps for ordering prescriptions

This story first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

For the first time in Australia, patients can pre-order their prescriptions from a pharmacy using a simple app on their mobile phones. There is currently a choice between two – Send a Script or eRx Express – which general practices might wish to recommend to patients.

The first out of the blocks in the pharmacy app market was Send a Script, a mobile app developed by Wollongong pharmacist Fabian McCann. This app has been specifically designed to be easy to use by older patients, and simply requires them to take a photo of the script on their mobile phones, choose their preferred pharmacy, SMS the photo to that pharmacy and choose a time to pick it up.

All of the buttons in the app are large and easy to see, and Mr McCann specifically chose to start with a photo rather than the more complicated route of QR codes or barcodes as many mobile phones don’t contain barcode readers, but the vast majority have a reasonable quality camera.

Following in Send a Script’s footsteps is eRx Express, developed by the electronic prescription exchange service eRx and backed by its parent company Fred IT. eRx Express uses the QR code scanning method, which will necessitate the codes being printed on paper prescriptions, something the company is discussing with GP clinical practice software vendors.

In both cases, it is still necessary for the patient to present their paper prescriptions to the pharmacist when picking up their medications. The advent of legal electronic signatures will overcome this requirement, but that day is not yet here.

To read the full story, click here for the November 2013 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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