The Australian Capital Territory's Health Directorate announced it will be introducing a new real-time prescription monitoring system to prescribers and pharmacists in the state later this year.

WHAT IT DOES

Canberra Script will assist healthcare professionals when they prescribe or dispense monitored medicines for consumers.

Designed to help reduce pharmaceutical harm, the system will include real-time alerts and notifications through compatible medical and pharmacy software to inform prescribers and pharmacists when patients may exhibit signs of drug-seeking behaviour, such as doctor shopping.

Canberra Script will provide information about controlled medicines and some prescription-only medicines that are associated with abuse or misuse, such as Benzodiazepines.

Moreover, doctors can seek approval from the chief health officer through the system to prescribe controlled medicines.

WHY IT MATTERS

With improved functionality and features, Canberra Script will be replacing the state's existing DAPIS Online Remote Access system, according to ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith.

"Canberra Script provides a much better user experience for prescribers and pharmacists; it gives practitioners access to a new RTPM system that has improved functionality and features. [Usability] has been key in the development of this new system, delivering an interface that is easier to understand and use," Minister Stephen-Smith said in a statement.

She noted Australia's "growing" problem with the misuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals, which leads to a "devastating impact on individuals and their families."

"Canberra Script will give ACT doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists a better view of what their consumers are using. This supports practitioners to provide safe care for ACT residents," she said.

The latest system will be delivered to early adopters later this year before rolling it out to other providers in early 2022.

THE LARGER TREND

Canberra Script is part of the broader real-time prescription monitoring system being implemented across Australia. In April, South Australia rolled out its own system called ScriptCheckSA. Three years ago, Victoria launched its SafeScript system.

ON THE RECORD

"Canberra Script is one way we can reduce harm from drug use. The ACT Government is committed to investing in evidence-based and practice-informed harm minimisation responses to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs," Minister Stephen-Smith said.

“We will continue to work with healthcare providers and community organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of all Canberrans," she added.

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