Electronic Prescribing

Product

Context

More information:

Electronic Prescribing Resources

Electronic prescribing provides an option for prescribers and their patients to have a digital prescription as an alternative to a paper prescription. Electronic prescribing is not mandatory, and patients and prescribers will be able to choose an electronic or a paper version of their prescription.

Background

Through the 2018/19 Commonwealth Budget, the Government announced support for the implementation of electronic prescribing.  The Commonwealth Department of Health (Health) is leading the work to enable electronic prescribing and has overall accountability for the electronic prescribing project. Health has partnered with the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) to develop the technical components of the project, including the solution architecture and a conformance framework supporting the legal prescribing and dispensing of medicines and subsequent Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) claiming from electronic prescriptions.

The Agency is undertaking implementation activities throughout 2019 and 2020 to support the delivery of electronic prescribing.

The Agency has now released the final technical framework documents. 

How will the Agency support implementation of electronic prescribing?

To participate in electronic prescribing, developers will be required to attest that their software meets the requirements in the Electronic Prescribing Conformance Profile. The Agency will provide software developers of systems participating in electronic prescribing support to deliver electronic prescribing functionality.

In developing new electronic prescribing functionality, software developers can access guidance on interpreting and understanding the technical documents developed through the Agency’s Developer Centre. 

The Agency’s Developer Centre will host additional content to assist developers through the process from readiness through development, test, declaration of conformance, and operations.

Implementation of electronic prescribing

The implementation of electronic prescribing requires the development of regulatory and technical frameworks, and changes to existing systems and software that will enable the safe and secure use of an electronic prescription as a legal alternative to a paper prescription.

Electronic prescribing is the process by which a prescription is electronically generated by a prescriber through prescribing software and securely transmitted to a prescription delivery service to be available for dispensing and supply through dispensing software. Where applicable, a record of supply can then be electronically sent to DHS for PBS claiming purposes.

1. Regulatory framework
The introduction of the electronic prescription as a legal form has involved changes to Commonwealth Regulations. Health has detailed the form of the electronic prescription and the IT requirements for clinical software. Changes have been made to the PBS claim for payment system to support the new arrangements.

The Commonwealth has engaged with the states and territories to ensure amendments are aligned across Commonwealth, state and territory legislation to deliver a nationally consistent electronic prescribing framework. ​

2. Technical framework
The Australian Digital Health Agency has developed the technical framework to support electronic prescribing. This technical framework details the requirements for clinical software to ensure alignment with the regulatory framework, adherence to privacy and security principles and maintenance of patient choice. The technical framework identifies the required clinical software changes and has been developed in consultation with the clinical software sector.

Changes to the PBS claim for payment system has been managed by the Services Australia.

Learn more about the technical framework development 

At the outset of the electronic prescribing project, the Agency and Health committed to a process of co-design and the Agency established the Electronic Prescribing Technical Working Group (TWG). TWG membership includes representatives from prescribing software vendors (community and acute care), dispensing software vendors (community and acute care), aged care software vendors, prescription exchange service providers, peak medical and pharmacy bodies, consumers, state health departments, DHS and Health.

Since December 2018, the TWG has met via:

  • Teleconference (December 2018; March 2019; September 2019)
  • Face-to-face workshops (January 2019; February 2019 x 2; April 2019; September 2019)
  • Additional sub-group workshops (software vendor architect workshop February 2019; software vendor workshop June 2019).

Contributions from TWG members and their formal feedback from multiple consultation rounds has led to the development of the key technical artefacts to support the development of electronic prescribing software. These technical documents include:

  • A Solution Architecture to provide an overview of the architectural components of the end-to-end national electronic prescribing framework;
  • A Conformance Assessment Scheme which describes the scheme for assessing the conformance of software against the Conformance Profile involved in the electronic prescribing process; and
  • A Conformance Profile to summarise the functional and non-functional requirements for software that supports participation in electronic prescribing.

Preliminary versions of these documents were first provided via this developer centre webpage on 24 September 2019. These were drafts for software vendors to have early access to the technical framework.

Specifications
Current Specifications: 
Identifier: 
EP-2984:2019

Electronic Prescribing - Technical Framework documents
These technical framework documents are provided to software vendors and demonstrate what will be required to enable electronic prescribing. These technical documents are:

Identifier: 
EP-3167:2020

This package contains the conformance test specifications for Prescribing systems, Dispensing Systems, Open Prescription Delivery Services (PDS) and all associated test data.

Identifier: 
EP-3218:2020

The Australian Digital Health Agency provides the following documents relating to Electronic Prescribing.
Software Vendor Welcome Pack
In the welcome pack you will find the latest versions of the following:

Identifier: 
EP-0938:2010

ETP 1.1, published in December 2010, contributed to Standards Australia’s publication process, along with effort from the Agency subject matter experts working collaboratively within the IT-014 informatics community.

By operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Rule 2016, on 1 July 2016, all the assets and liabilities of NEHTA will vest in the Australian Digital Health Agency. In this website, on and from 1 July 2016, all references to "National E-Health Transition Authority" or "NEHTA" will be deemed to be references to the Australian Digital Health Agency. PCEHR means the My Health Record, formerly the "Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record", within the meaning of the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth), formerly called the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 (Cth).

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