Saturday, November 24, 2012

It Looks Like There Has Been Some Serious Movement on E-Prescribing and Script Exchange.

The following article appeared last week.

Script exchanges together

FRED IT’s eRx Script Exchange is set to become linked to rival MediSecure, with the government providing almost $10 million in funding to make the systems interoperable. According to an application revealed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the so-called ‘Electronic Transfer of Prescription (ETP) Prescription Exchange Service Interoperability Initiative’ aims to “significantly improve the uptake and use of electronic prescriptions”. E-prescribing is a significant policy component of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, and according to early analysis there are large numbers of electronic prescriptions being lodged by prescribers “ but the number being downloaded by dispensers is quite low” - due to patients presenting to a pharmacy which is not connected to the prescription exchange containing the e-script.
The project aims to allow electronic prescriptions to be accessed by all pharmacies, regardless of which exchange the script was lodged with. eRx and MediSecure are now tasked with working together and sharing all information necessary to create interoperability between their systems, with a deadline in the document of 24 Dec 2012 for the work to be completed.
The companies will each receive $660,000 (a total of $1.32m) as a capital contribution to undertake the work, which will also include the standardisation of the format and positioning of the barcodes on the original prescriptions.
Here is the information from the ACCC

eRx Script Exchange Pty Ltd - Authorisation - A91348

  • eRx Script Exchange Pty Ltd
Authorisation number(s)/Date lodged
  • A91348, 13th November 2012
eRx proposes to enter into a contract which has the purpose of enabling it to make its electronic pharmaceutical prescription exchange system (PES) interoperable with MediSecure's (MDS) PES and vice versa. Clause 14 of the proposed contract, which is the subject of this application, provides that following the introduction of interoperability, eRx and MDS will share equally in the fee which is charged to a pharmacy user and the Commonwealth by the PES to which the pharmacy is connected in respect of each prescription that has originated on the PES of the other party.
Here is the direct link to the application document:
The application is dated 9 November, 2012 but the funding arrangements (from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing) were agreed months earlier.
It is interesting just how quickly approval was given.
It seems the two companies are going to have to get moving given the work to create the interoperability must be done by Christmas.
The Government is paying each of the Prescription Exchanges $660,000 as capital and then there is an amount of $8.3M available to be claimed as prescriptions are retrieved.
It is presently planned all the money will be claimed by June 30, 2013 via Medicare.
Pages 42-44 show the project timetable.
Pages 52 on describe the funded project. Here is the core of what is going on.

“C. The Commonwealth’s PES interoperability Project

The purpose of the Commonwealth’s PES Interoperability Project is to allow electronic prescriptions to be accessed by all pharmacies, no matter which PES the electronic prescription was originally lodged with. To achieve this outcome, the PESs must work together and share all information necessary to create interoperability between their systems to achieve interim interoperability4 by no later than 24 December 2012 in advance of conformance with Australian Technical Specifications for the Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (ETP).
Full PES interoperability, conforming with Australian Technical Specifications for the Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions, and subsequent Australian Standards, will follow the completion of the Project.”
Obviously I am not very smart but I can’t find “Australian Technical Specifications for the Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions” on either the NEHTA or Standards Australia e-Health Web sites. Maybe they have a different name - but is it clear Standards Australia has still to approve the tech specs.
I have to say this all looks like a little of a mad rush to have something that will work available to satisfy ePIP requirements which are meant to be in place by February next year.
Oh well a little move forward!