The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has backed a decision to switch off computer alerts telling doctors when patients have had prescriptions dispensed, due to concerns over medico-legal issues, if it encourages GPs to embrace e-health.
The alerts, which were a feature of both eRx Script Exchange and MediSecure, have been stopped after concerns were raised that the alerts would impose a duty on GPs to chase up patients who had not had the prescriptions dispensed, by indemnity insurers and the Royal Australian College of General Practice (RACGP).
Dr Nathan Pinskier, an RACGP spokesperson, said the College feared the existence of the notifications extended doctors' duty of care to ensure patients were following their advice.
“It's a complex area”, he said.
“I think you could look at cases like acute cellulitis in the leg. You warn the patient that the infection might spread and become septicaemia.
"You've prescribed penicillin and stress the importance of taking the medication within 24 hours.
"Then you are told [through the e-prescribing system] the medication has not been dispensed.
"What is the duty here. What is good practice in this situation?"
Speaking to Pharmacy News, Kos Sclavos, Guild national president, said the profession had worked hard to build up support for e-prescribing, and to remove barriers preventing doctors from using either of the systems.
“E-prescribing is a key platform to the electronic health record which we support and have worked hard for,” Mr Sclavos said.
“There are barriers to achieving Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions. Some barriers are major and some are minor.
“If removing this perceived medico-legal issue as a barrier means the medical profession embraces electronic prescriptions then the Guild is happy to support it.”