Electronic Prescriptions – preparing for change

All you need to know about E- Prescriptions

It looks like 2020 will be a bellwether year for pharmacy – it is piecing together to be a year of generational change covering political (7CPA, prescribing changes, etc), digital (electronic prescriptions and data protocols) and social/demographic (customer behavioural change). This will flow through to the Pharmacy of 2025 taking a far different format than we see today. E-prescribing will frame the most significant change we have seen for both allied health and patients since the introduction of computers in the dispensary. Whilst the details are still emerging of e-prescribing, if we think of the ‘long game’, what do we need to do now to prepare us for 2020?

Key things to know:

1. Political – the e-prescribing legislation has passed Federal parliament. In our federated system all the state legislation will change at differing rates but it is anticipated that will be done early 2020 to allow a phased roll out. It will not be launched until all medical software and pharmacy software is upgraded – as such it will most likely be piloted in a small area then rolled out more widely in late 2020.

2. How will it work? Good question – still being finalized but it appears at this point that the patient will get an SMS with a QR code. They present this in the pharmacy, for  verification  and is then dispensed (or managed via app).

3. What does this mean for workflow? A few things:

Technology – Pharmacies will need to enable QR code scanning at the script-in point. This queues into a virtual basket – as such, we foresee there will also (most likely) be implications for checking the script.
Workflow – Significant changes due to the above. Roles will change and dispensary (and overall pharmacy design) will modify.

4. Dispensary (and overall pharmacy design) will modify.

5. Data – In an e-environment, data integrity and alignment with clinical governance principles (and the new QCPP) will be a sharp focus.It will be important to ensure all patient data is gathered with accuracy and quality, and during the dispensing process that product barcode scan rates for dispensed items remain above 95% (which can be a challenge from a practical perspective).

We have drafted some steps pharmacies should be undertaking as soon as possible to start preparing for electronic prescriptions.

What should I do now?

With detail still emerging there are a few things to do now to prepare. In general, this can be summarized as ‘do the basics brilliantly’!

1. Data quality:

Create discipline around data accuracy and quality as this will be critical going forward, which means commence gathering any missing patient data that will be required for My Health Record, and tidy up your data to ensure it is accurate.
These fields are:
i. First name
ii. Surname
iii. Gender – this is required but often not gathered
iv. Date of Birth
v. Medicare

Also gather the patient data to assist enrolling your patients into an app to manage scripts:
i. Mobile
ii. Email

2. Customer retention:

> Sign up patients to the myPharmacy Link app – a good tip is to install guest mode on your own phone to show patients the benefit. Set KPI’s around signups and usage – if scripts will be portable it is crucial these are linked to your pharmacy.

> Gather as many scripts on file as you can – we foresee that paper scripts will continue to exist alongside e-prescribing (although they will be mutually exclusive); as such, scripts on file remains as big a priority as ever for customer retention

Enable measuring and tracking – how can you set a goal for growth if it’s not easy to measure? Find out from your dispensary software provider the most effective means of marking patients as ‘scripts on file’ so that you can run reports on the number of patients in that category, and invest the time into the housekeeping required to do that (via delegation). E.g. For FRED users, our recommendation is to create a nursing home called ‘Scripts on File’ and add all the relevant patients to that, from which you can easily report the volume of patients.

> Does it become a goal over the next quarter to enroll 20% of your script customers into your app/script on file service?

3. Workflow: 
Prepare your team for change. Look at the current inefficiencies and make necessary changes.

As always – put yourself in the shoes of your patients. How can you continue to improve the quality of their life?