NEHTA releases updated electronic script transfer specifications

The National E-Health Transition Authority has released draft version 1.1 of its Electronic Transfer of Prescription Package, a suite of documents designed to steer the ongoing development of electronic prescribing workflows in Australia.

The latest release expands on previous versions in three key areas, extending the transfer of prescriptions to a wider range of care settings including hospitals and residential care facilities, and addressing instances where the medications are supplied based on informal instruction from a prescriber before a formal prescription (owing script) is provided. It also introduces the transfer of fully electronic prescriptions signed with a prescriber’s digital signature.

Version 1.1 follows the signing of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) between the Federal Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which facilitates a subsidy for pharmacists of 15 cents for each electronic prescription dispensed. Under the current arrangements, only scripts transferred electronically from a prescriber to a pharmacy via a script hub are eligible for the subsidy, effectively excluding the large number of scripts that are uploaded into electronic script hubs by pharmacists.

NEHTA has signalled an intention to publish a finalised version of the specifications in December 2010. Following the release of these specifications, pharmacists will remain eligible for electronic prescribing subsidies for two years, after which time they will only continue to receive the 15 cent subsidies if they dispense electronic scripts from a script hub that is compliant with the NEHTA specifications.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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