While the federal government is not mandating clinicians across Australia to issue electronic prescriptions, its issuance has gone above 12 million, according to the Australian Digital Health Agency.

WHY IT MATTERS

As Australian patients have the option to forward their e-prescriptions to local pharmacies or use consumer medication management apps, e-prescriptions proved to be "especially convenient under [the] COVID-19 lockdown", ADHA CEO Amanda Cattermole said in a media release.

E-prescriptions, she said, provide a "safer, faster and more efficient supply of prescriptions to Australians".

Cattermole noted that over 22,000 prescribers in the country are sending out e-prescriptions to patients and at least 98% of all community pharmacies are dispensing them.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

In its statement, the ADHA reminded citizens of Sydney that they can ask for digital prescriptions from their doctors while the city is undergoing an extended lockdown from mid-June to end-July. The new COVID-19 outbreak in the state of New South Wales that has seen 900 people infected was attributed to the entry of the Delta variant that was first identified in India.

The issuance of e-prescriptions in the country began in May last year. Within six months, more than 6.5 million e-prescriptions were made with 4.2 million dispensed.

ON THE RECORD

"Most practice management software now has the capability to issue electronic prescriptions. If it is a patient’s choice to receive an electronic prescription instead of a paper prescription, then the GP just needs to select the electronic script option instead of ‘print’ when issuing a prescription," Dr Charlotte Hespe, a general practitioner from Sydney, was quoted in the statement as saying.

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