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SafeScript, Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system, is on track for implementation to start later this year. Roll-out will initially be focused in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network catchment area, before being extended to the rest of Victoria in early 2019.  

SafeScript is computer software that will provide GPs and pharmacists with access to their patients’ prescription records for certain high-risk medicines during a consultation, to enable safer clinical decisions. Prescription records for medicines that are causing the greatest harm to our community will be captured in SafeScript. These are all Schedule 8 medicines, Schedule 4 benzodiazepines, z-drugs (zolpidem and zopiclone), and quetiapine.

Training for GPs and pharmacists will also be rolled out and will include how to use the system and  more safely prescribe and dispense these medicines and respond to the needs of patients.

Some regulatory changes are necessary to ensure accurate patient data is available in SafeScript. The regulatory change effective from 1 July 2018 will require prescribers to include the patient's date of birth on all prescriptions for medicines to be monitored through SafeScript. This is applicable to both handwritten and computer generated prescriptions. Clinical software should prompt prescribers to include this information for computer generated scripts and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is engaging with vendors to support this change.

When a prescription is issued or dispensed at a medical clinic or pharmacy, prescription records will be transmitted through the Prescription Exchange Service (PES) to SafeScript.

Connection to a PES is highly recommend for medical clinics to enable more complete records in SafeScript and a better user experience for GPs when they use SafeScript. This is easy, free and most medical clinics in Victoria are already connected. Medical clinics can contact their prescribing software vendor to ensure they are connected. Through this connection, GPs will receive pop-up notifications from their desktops to inform them when to review the patient’s history in SafeScript and take them directly to the relevant record. Without this connection, prescribers will need to log on to a separate web portal and search for the patient, which will be more time consuming.

GPs should also ensure that their registration details with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are up-to-date, especially primary place of practice and email address. This will support an easy and automated registration for access to SafeScript which will open later this year.

More information about how to prepare for SafeScript can be found on the SafeScript web page, or click here.

[Source: Department of Health and Human Services]

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