Wellington GP and e-prescribing adopter Richard Medlicott believes GPs are not using the service as extensively as they should because their leadership balked at the monthly cost of $125 “without seeing the big picture”.
“I guess the bottom line is that they saw the cash costs as being more than the benefits,” says Dr Medlicott. GPs are not served well by ignoring the opportunity – he says e-prescribing saves both time and money.
For example, a prescription taking two-and-a-half minutes to write can be done in 20 seconds with e-prescribing.
If the technology is not taken up, Dr Medlicott believes DHBs will say doctors and pharmacists are not interested in going to the next level.
“It’s a two-way street in that pharmacies and GPs get something out of it. We need to work with local pharmacy and get support from the ministry and make it work,” he says.
Ms Hines thinks pharmacists need to take the initiative and outline the benefits to GPs to encourage them to take up e-prescribing.
She says she took the initiative and approached the owner of Queen Street Medical next door, Andrew Narayan, to get the practice on board.
Already, the technology is eliminating the need for controlled drug prescriptions to be handwritten on triplicate controlled drug forms.
Another advantage is that faxed e-prescriptions for non-controlled drugs can be accepted as original copies by the pharmacy if signed, barcoded and downloaded from NZePS, meaning that the practice no longer needs to send the original.
Even though e-prescribing isn’t perfect, it forms the groundwork to a paperless mode and a more integrated and patient-centric system, she says.