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Medicine prescribing goes digital in 2018

On the 1 December 2017, computerised prescribing became available to dental practices across Australia. It’s setting a precedent for the year ahead and for years to come – but what are the arguments for and against the move to digital prescriptions?

The background

It’s no secret that our everyday lives are becoming increasingly digitalised. From social media and online dating to electronic submissions and online university courses. At least one aspect of our daily routine involves some digital element. So why would we leave our medical prescriptions behind?

Research by the Australian Dental Association (ADA) shows that 87% of its members would use digital prescriptions if they became available – a sweeping majority that is hard to ignore.

Following several years of closely working with the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, the ADA could finally respond to the voice of the people as result of their research.

The next step was to collaborate with major dental practice software suppliers, including Dental4Windows, Software of Excellence and Ultimo Dental to create a concept for computerised prescriptions. After a few major tweaks, the concept soon became a reality, and a fully functioning digital prescription system came into place.

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What’s so great about it?

One of the huge benefits of this system is its autonomy. For those who aren’t so keen on the idea of living in a digital world, the original manual prescriptions are still available across all practices, and they are not being discontinued at this stage. But for the practices who are interested, they are also able to order the new computerised forms if they would like to take advantage of the digital system too.

Another key benefit of the digital system is that the prescription is automatically uploaded to the patient’s records, which erases the need for a manual entry system. In the long run, this will create a more efficient and organised approach to work.

What’s next?

The next step of the process is to introduce “e-prescribing” to dental practices. E-prescriptions will allow practices to upload prescriptions directly to the pharmacy via the Cloud, which essentially removes an entire step of the manual prescription process. ADA’s research suggests that 86% of members are interested in using this feature, which will only go ahead if the Australian Digital Health Agency agrees to progress, as it oversees the My Health system.

Since we are still in the early stages of this new system, dental practices have been advised to contact their practice software vendor directly to confirm that the digital function is in working order at their location.

Get your computerised prescription

To take part in this exciting new digital project, just download and complete the order form: ‘PB229 – Order for PBS/RPBS computer prescriptions forms for all eligible prescribers’ from the Department of Human Services. Please note that you must tick the ‘dentist’ box when filling out the prescription.

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