Victoria has started to roll out a cloud-based real-time prescription monitoring system called SafeScript, available to medical practitioners and pharmacists, to help fatal drug overdoses from prescription medication.

Developed by specialist pharmacy solution provider Fred IT Group and powered with Microsoft technology, SafeScript offers doctors and pharmacists a real-time alerting capability.

If the system detects that a patient has gone to multiple providers for the same medicine over a short period of time, or they are using a risky combination of medicines that elevates the risk of overdose, it will automatically raise an alert.

The platform uses Azure Event Hub, Stream Analytics, WebJobs and Enterprise Service Bus to harvest real time prescription and dispensing data captured through the electronic transfer of prescriptions through eRx Script Exchange and MediSecure.

Azure Active Directory is used to control access, ensuring only authorised personnel can use SafeScript — once eligible practitioners have registered, Azure Active Directory along with multi-factor authentication manages access to the system.

Meanwhile, Web applications provide access to SafeScript portals to authorised users, ensuring a better performance regardless of bandwidth — critical for rural or regional practitioner access.

SafeScript monitors the prescription and dispensing of all controlled (Schedule 8) medicines such as morphine and oxycodone, as well as other higher risk medicines including codeine and diazepam, and also connects to pharmacy and GP software to streamline workflow.

“The problem is that too many people are dying from prescription medicines, from overdose,” Matthew McCrone, director of real time prescription monitoring implementation for the Victorian Department Health and Human Services (DHHS), said in a statement. “That number is ever-growing. Clearly, we needed to transform how we go about doing this, in order to prevent these deaths occurring.”

McCrone explained the way to prevent deaths from prescription drug overdose is to help doctors and pharmacists make more informed clinical decisions, and thus facilitate safer prescribing and dispensing of these high-risk medicines.

The goal is to ensure clinicians have information in front of them, at the point that they needing to make a decision about whether to prescribe a particular medicine or dispense it.

A staged rollout is already underway, with the first implementation live across the Western Victoria Primary Health Network since the start of October 2018, ahead of a statewide roll out in April 2019.

Starting in April of next year, every medical practitioner and pharmacist in Victoria will need to access SafeScript before they dispense or prescribe the monitored medicines.

“Before SafeScript, you could only see what you prescribed or dispensed at your clinic or pharmacy,” Paul Naismith, CEO of Fred IT, said in a statement. “Now you can actually see if your patient has visited other doctors or pharmacies for the same medication, so you know who their doctor is, you can talk to the doctor, you can get the information you need, and just having those alerts to know if there is a problem.”

 

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