Major boost for real time prescription monitoring


Date: 31 October 2018

The Guild commends the Australia Government Department of Health on appointing FRED IT to lead the development of a new national system for real-time prescription monitoring.

The awarding of this contract, which was made public last week, will build on FRED’s ground-breaking work in developing the SafeScript real-time prescription monitoring system which is funded by the Victorian State Government and is currently being trialled prior to its full roll-out.

Under the Federal contract, FRED will design, develop and implement the software system for a national data exchange which will provide alerts to doctors and pharmacists through their clinical software, providing up-to-date and accurate data on prescriptions of medicines of concern, including dispensings that cross State borders.

FRED will also work with State and Territory jurisdictions on the effective integration of their existing real time prescription monitoring systems, such as SafeScript, DORA and ERRCD, with the national data exchange.

Importantly the FRED solution will use data feeds from the established prescription exchange services such as eRx and MediSecure as well as hospital pharmacy systems like Medication Knowledge.

The awarding of this contract is a major step forward in building the infrastructure required to ensure that doctors and pharmacists have the information they need to identify and support at-risk patients.

For more than a decade, coroners from around Australia have been recommending a mandatory nationally consistent real time prescription monitoring system and we now have the momentum to ensure that this critical piece of clinical support infrastructure is in place as soon as possible.

The Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, should be congratulated for his strong leadership in cutting through the red tape that has held back the introduction of national real time prescription monitoring and securing the funding required to build the national system.

Equally, the Victorian Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, has been a stand-out advocate for real time prescription monitoring with her commitment to SafeScript, which will ensure that Victoria is the first major mainland State to have an electronic, real time monitoring system in place.  Tasmania has rolled out DORA and ACT has committed to a real time monitoring system.

While the Guild is pleased that its consistent advocacy for real time prescription monitoring over many years is finally paying dividends, it is the patient advocates who have made the real difference.

I was honoured recently to attend an event at Parliament House in Canberra hosted by ScriptWise, which is devoted to reducing the harm to Australians from prescription medication misuse.  

At the briefing, which was led by ScriptWise’s inspiring founder and patron Kim Ledger (father of Heath) and its incredibly committed CEO Bee Mohamed, a number of mothers, fathers and sisters who had lost loved ones to prescription medications told their personal stories, making clear that a national real time prescription monitoring system is needed to help save lives.

As these inspirational advocates pointed out, real time prescription monitoring is not a panacea but it is an absolutely essential tool to help clinicians identify at-risk patients who are doctor shopping enabling earlier action in providing the assistance and support they need.

As medicines experts, community pharmacists play an important role in providing advice and counselling to patients living with chronic pain who may be at-risk of addiction to prescription medicines.

The recent decision by the Federal Government to trial an in-pharmacy Chronic Pain MedsCheck provides the potential to enhance the established role of community pharmacists and will evaluate the efficacy of this in-pharmacy service in term of:

  • Preventing incorrect use and/or overuse of pain medication,
  • Increasing patients’ pain medication health literacy,
  • Improving their ability to self-manage their chronic pain, and
  • Increasing their overall quality of life.

The Chronic Pain MedsCheck will be trialled in more than 1,600 community pharmacies across the country over the next 11 months, with pharmacists receiving additional training to provide the service, which will encourage greater collaboration with general practitioners, pain specialists and other allied health professionals.

NOTE: The Pharmacy Guild is a shareholder in FRED IT.

Contact: The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Phone: 02 6270 1888

Next Forefront article

Was this page useful to you?

Page last updated 31 October 2018