Electronic prescribing is a digital option for prescribers and their patients of a paper prescription. It is the process by which a prescription is electronically generated by a prescriber using software which confirms to stringent specifications.
Electronic prescribing is not mandatory, prescribers and patients can choose an electronic or paper prescription.
The prescription will be sent during the consultation as an SMS or email in the form of a QR code it is known as a Token:
The token itself is not the prescription; however, it is evidence of a prescription. Once the token is scanned and used by a pharmacy to dispense the medicine, it is invalid and cannot be reused. The prescription delivery service will lock a prescription as soon as it is accessed, so no other pharmacy can dispense it at the same time.
- Improved patient safety by reducing the risk of transcription errors
- Improved practitioner workflow efficiencies by reducing unnecessary paperwork
- Choice of prescription format that suits patient preference
- Potential for new or alternative digital health services and initiatives into the future
- Reduced prescription misuse through increased data available for real-time monitoring, and
- Support the future of digital health innovation
A token is a QR code you send to the patient instead of giving them a paper prescription. The electronic prescription sits in an encrypted and secure electronic Prescription Delivery Service (eRx or Medisecure). The token displays the following information when sent as an SMS or email:
- Patient initials
- Medicine name
- Date prescribed
- Number of repeats
Once in possession of their token(s) the patient can present the token to their pharmacy of choice or send to them via SMS, email or a medication management app. The token provides a link to a unique code used by the dispensing pharmacy to access the legal document for dispensing. If the patient has any repeats of a prescription, a new token will be sent to them when the prescription is dispensed.
- Ensure your practice has a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-0) and is connected to the Healthcare Identifiers (HI) service and have a valid NASH certificate.
- Update your patients' and their carers contact details. This is a very important step, update mobile phone and email contact details as the Token will be sent to an email or phone.
- Validate all patients IHIs within your medical software. It is recommended the token be sent during the consultation so both the prescriber and patient can confirm the token has been sent and received by the right person.
Ensure your organisation is connected to a Prescription Delivery Service such as:
- eRX: 1300 700 921
- Medisecure 1800 47 27 47
If your GPs print scripts with an active barcode, this is an indication that your GPs are already connected.
For more information on electronic prescriptions visit the Australian Digital Health Agency webpage
The National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) is a digital certificate that authenticates an organisation whenever they access the My Health Record system using conformant software.
To connect to electronic prescriptions, the practice will need a NASH and/or Medicare Public Key Infrastructure certificate requested/linked through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS). In some cases, you may only need a Medicare PKI certificate (check with your software provider to find out if both are required). See the Australian Government Services Australia’s webpage for guidance on requesting a NASH and/or linking a Medicare PKI certificate.
** Remember NASH certificates need to be renewed every 2 years and will need to be renewed through PRODA
Certificates can only be requested by a Responsible Officer (RO) or Organisation Maintenance Officer (OMO) by logging on to HPOS.
- Log into PRODA and log in to HPOS
- From the main screen, go to My Programs >Healthcare Identifiers & My Health Record>Healthcare Identifiers-Manage existing Records> Organisation Details> Certificates
- click on the ‘Request a NASH PKI site certificate link
- Enter a mobile phone number
- Tick the Terms and Conditions box
- Click the Save changes button
- Click the Submit button
You will then receive an SMS to the mobile number you entered. The message is: "Your NASH certificate for HPI-O XXXXXX is ready to download through HPOS. It is available for 30 days. Your PIC is XXXXXXXX. Do not reply by SMS".
PIC stands for Personal Identification Code. Write the PIC down in case it's needed for later.
Note: while any authorised user for the organisation will now be able to download the certificate in HPOS, it cannot be installed without the PIC that was sent by SMS.
If you need a new PIC, contact the HPOS help desk on 1800 723 471.
8. Under the Action column, click the Download link to save the file to your computer. The name of the downloaded file will be ‘Site’.
- For security reasons, the NASH is only available to be downloaded for a maximum of 30 days.
- Contact the eBusiness Service Centre on 1800 700 199 for any questions relating to the progress of the NASH Certificate request.
The Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service allocates three types of healthcare identifiers:
- Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI)- for individuals receiving healthcare services. Every person enrolled in Medicare has an IHI automatically assigned to them.
- Healthcare Provider Identifier-Individual (HPI-I) for healthcare professionals involved in providing patient care.
- Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) – for organisations that deliver healthcare (such as hospitals or general practice)
If you are registered with AHPRA, you are automatically assigned a HPI-I number.
For assistance contact the Healthcare Identifier Service Enquiry Line 1300 361 457
Information on how to register for HPI-O is available here
Have you accessed WQ HealthPathways lately?
WQ HealthPathways details the ePrescribing background and process for use in practice.
For more details and to access HealthPathways click here
For more information on electronic prescriptions for healthcare providers visit the Australian Digital Health Agency here
For more information or support on Electronic Prescribing contact: