Fred IT bags contract for national e-prescription service
As the host, it will ensure e-prescriptions come at no transaction cost.
Pharmacy IT solutions provider Fred IT has won the contract to deliver Australia's national electronic prescribing delivery service.
It will be delivering the service through eRx Script Exchange which shall ensure continuous access to a "robust, secure electronic prescription network."
In a media release, the company shared some upcoming improvements in the national service, including:
. A certainty that e-scripts and SMS will continue without transaction costs;
. No individual invoicing and PBS online payments reconciliation for e-scripts;
. Prescribing and dispensing software vendors will receive financial support for compliant electronic prescription solutions and customer services;
. Strengthened cyber security posture and greater protections against clinical risk; and
. Enhanced capacity for all users to innovate and deliver patient-focused improvement.
eRx Script Exchange will assist software vendors, prescribers, and pharmacies in moving to these new arrangements, which will commence on 1 July.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Last year, the Health Department sought applications from technology providers to deliver a prescription delivery service and an Active Script List register for an initial four-year term. Fred IT, which won this tender, was behind the first issuance of e-scripts in Australia about 14 years ago.
When the pandemic struck, the Australian government allowed the issuance of e-scripts as an alternative to paper-based prescribing. Since May 2020, more than 122 million e-scripts have been issued by over 56,000 prescribers – GPs and nurse practitioners, nationwide, based on the latest count by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
The federal government has also been reimbursing the cost of sending e-script tokens via SMS. However, it will continue doing so until end-June this year. Last year, it began the mandated rollout of e-prescribing across public Australian hospitals, starting with Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia. The Australian government is further promoting e-prescribing by investing A$111.8 million ($76 million) over four years as part of the latest 2023-2024 Budget.
ON THE RECORD
"Health professionals and patients have gained substantially from faster and more accurate medication services in the 14 years since Fred launched Australia’s first electronic prescriptions. Doctors, pharmacists, and patients will all further benefit from this next phase which streamlines [the] management of the network and encourages ongoing innovation to support health professionals and patients," Fred IT CEO Paul Naismith commented.