Implementation is coming soon; how clinicians can prepare for SafeScript

The implementation of SafeScript is scheduled to start later in 2018. 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.

It is important for all Victorian clinicians to be aware of some regulatory changes that will take effect from 2 July 2018, to help them prepare for implementation of SafeScript.

How SafeScript will source data

SafeScript will be quick, easy-to-use and custom-built to meet the needs of Victorian clinicians.

Prescription records for medicines that are causing the greatest harm to our community will be captured in SafeScript. These are all Schedule 8 medicines and Schedule 4 benzodiazepines, z-drugs (zolpidem and zopiclone), quetiapine, and codeine.

Prescription records will be automatically transmitted through Prescription Exchange Services (PES) to SafeScript when a prescription is issued or dispensed at a medical clinic or pharmacy. No direct data entry will be required by health practitioners.

Integration with PES is already supported by the majority of GP and community pharmacy software and approximately 90% of pharmacies and most medical clinics in Victoria  are already connected to a PES.

Data collection for SafeScript will commence from 2 July 2018 to ensure that complete and accurate information is available in SafeScript for clinicians to make safer clinical decisions from the first day they commence to use the system.

Connection to a PES: why it is important for SafeScript

Connection to a PES means more complete patient data available to all clinicians and a better user experience when they start to access SafeScript. 

While the connection to a PES is optional for GPs, it is important for medical clinics and all community pharmacies to connect to a PES. Through this connection:

  • clinicians  will  have more  complete patient records available in SafeScript and have the necessary prescribing and dispensing information to make informed clinical decisions for their patients.
  • clinicians will have a better user experience while accessing SafeScript and will receive pop-up notifications from their desktop within seconds when a medicine monitored through the system has been prescribed or dispensed. The notification will inform clinicians whether it is necessary to review patient’s history in SafeScript and, by clicking on the notification, clinicians will be taken directly to the relevant record in SafeScript.

Without a connection to the PES, clinicians will need to log on to a separate web portal and search for the patient, which will be more time consuming.

Contact your software vendor for further information on whether your clinic or pharmacy is connected to a PES.

There is no cost involved with connecting to a PES, which is existing eHealth infrastructure already used to facilitate the transfer of ePrescriptions between doctors and pharmacists.

A video about electronic transfer of prescriptions can be viewed here.

Important regulatory changes effective from 2 July 2018: what doctors and pharmacists need to know

The following regulatory changes, effective from 2 July 2018,  are necessary to ensure complete and accurate patient data in SafeScript and will require:

  • prescribers to include the patient's date of birth on all prescriptions for medicines monitored through the system. Prescribing software should prompt clinicians to include this information for computer generated scripts. The Department of Health and Human Services is engaging with software vendors to support this change.
  • pharmacists to ensure when a monitored medicine is dispensed the patient’s date of birth is recorded in the patient’s dispensing record. Dispensing software should prompt pharmacists to enter date of birth. The Department of Health and Human Services is engaging with software vendors to support this change.
  • all community pharmacies that have not activated the connection with a PES in their software need to turn on the connection by contacting their software vendor. This is necessary so that complete records are available in SafeScript. It is easy, free and almost 90% of community pharmacies in Victoria are already connected to a PES.

Important change to pharmacotherapy policy: what pharmacists providing pharmacotherapy services need to know

Changes to the Policy for maintenance pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence will require pharmacists to record prescriptions for Opioid Replacement Therapy that are dispensed after 2 July 2018 in their dispensing system.

This change should have a minimal impact on pharmacists workflow as almost 70% of pharmacies in Victoria are already recording ORT prescriptions in their dispensing systems.

Registration for access to SafeScript: what clinicians need to do to make registration easier

Online registration for access to SafeScript will open later this year. The Department of Health and Human Services is working with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to fast-track and automate the registration process for access to SafeScript for clinicians.

To benefit from this automated on-line registration process, it is important that Victorian clinicians ensure their registration details with AHPRA, especially their principal place of practice and email address are up-to-date.

Further information about the registration process will be available closer to implementation on this site.