Welcome to the eighth edition of Pulse+IT, Australia’s first and only Health IT magazine.

The last few months have heralded what are likely to be pivotal developments in Australia’s eHealth landscape. Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), having languished in the collective thought bubble of the Health IT industry for many years, is now very much on the agenda.

In what may best be described as a pre-emptive e-prescribing strike, a powerful consortium of prescribing and dispensing vendors have announced their intention to launch a national e-prescribing service under the moniker, “ScriptX”. It is proposed that prescribers will be able to upload an electronic copy of their scripts to a centralised prescription “hub”, allowing pharmacists to download these scripts into their dispensing software when the patient presents to collect their medication.

Whether the consortium’s ambitious and somewhat controversial strategy will evolve from press release to implementation remains to be seen, however what is clear is that the development of the system will be watched closely by the pharmacy profession and Health IT pundits alike.

The ScriptX announcement came just weeks before the launch of a live e-prescribing pilot in the Northern Territory. By the time you read this, the system will have been in operation for over a month, with electronic scripts flowing between a general practice and two participating pharmacies.

This Edition

In addition to coverage about both of the aforementioned e-prescribing initiatives, this edition’s Bits&Bytes section contains a diverse mix of articles covering several recent Health IT developments from around Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Peter MacIsaac has contributed a guest editorial canvassing his ideas about the need for not only Health IT planning, but more importantly — action! Organisational contributions by NEHTA, Standards Australia, the Australian General Practice Network, and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners are also included.

Pulse+IT interviews Nat Wong from Totalcare, and Dr Paul Mara contributes his thoughts on email etiquette. Two related articles on mobile wireless broadband and mobile computing options are also included in this edition, as is a brief discussion about scanning workflows.

Greg Twyford outlines his experiences with VPN and remote access technology, while Brent Maxwell rounds out this edition with a discussion about Microsoft’s not so new but still controversial operating system, Windows Vista.

AMA Support

Under a one-off trial arrangement, this edition of Pulse+IT has been produced and distributed with the support of the Australian Medical Association (AMA). It is intended that all AMA members will receive a copy of the magazine you are now reading, bringing the total circulation of this edition of Pulse+IT to a massive 40,000 printed copies.

Whether or not this circulation arrangement continues on an ongoing basis will be largely dependent on whether this trial partnership initiative is well received by the AMA membership. With this in mind, if you are an AMA member and would like to continue receiving complimentary copies of Pulse+IT for either yourself or your practice staff, I would encourage you to take a few moments to make this interest known to the AMA. Such feedback can be provided using the form in the accompanying edition of Australian Medicine, or by sending a brief note via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Looking forward

In addition to a significantly expanded Bits&Bytes section, the next edition of Pulse+IT will contain feature articles encompassing secure messaging for specialists, physical IT security, open source software, VoIP for the home, desktop Virtualisation technology, multiple monitors and work space ergonomics, Personal Health Records (PHR), hospital communication systems, and modern appointment systems.

More information about these proposed articles is available on our website under the “About” section — as always, your feedback and suggestions are most welcome.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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