Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 75
Do you have a record?
By Jason Bratuskins
Jason Bratuskins is a practising community
pharmacy proprietor with an enthusiastic
interest in the application of IT to day-to-day
pharmacy. He also works in the pharmacy IT
industry on a number of cutting-edge eHealth
projects for Fred IT Group. He can be contacted
via email at: cyberpharm@angleseapharmacy.
When dispensing, we can currently only see dispensing history that occurred
at our own pharmacy. The promise of eHealth brings with it the possibility that
we can have access to prescribing and dispensing history from more than just
our own pharmacy. Every Australian citizen can now apply for a Commonwealth
Electronic Health Record, and as health professionals, we will soon start to have
access to electronic records for patients that will give us this view, so we all need to
Not EHR but PCEHR
On 1 July 2012, the Commonwealth
launched the Personally Controlled
Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
The PCEHR, or National eHealth Record
System, is a secure, online summary of
health information that allows the sharing
of health information. The patient is in total
control (as you can see from the 'PC' part
of the PCEHR), where the patient controls
what goes into the record, and who can
How to start the record
A PCEHR can either be set up online,
over the phone, at a Medicare office, or
eventually from within dispensing and
prescribing software. It requires an australia.
gov.au account, which is an online portal for
many different government agencies such
as PCEHR, Centrelink, Medicare, and the
Department of Veterans' Affairs.
What tracks are on the record?
Once the PCEHR is set up, you can choose
to import a selection of existing data from
Medicare. Currently, you can choose from
previous Medicare benefits to add in any
doctor visits, Pharmaceutical Benefits
information that has been sent to Medicare
via PBS Online, Childhood Immunisation
information, and Organ Donor information.
The PCEHR will eventually hold much
more health information than from these
sources, but the next major source of
information will be individual prescribe and
dispense records. The National Prescribe
and Dispense Repository (NPDR) is a part
of the PCEHR that holds information sent
from numerous sources, and passes these
to the PCEHR. The sources are doctors and
pharmacies using Prescription Exchange
Services (currently eRx Script Exchange),
and hospitals (currently Barwon Hospital
in Victoria), but this list will expand after
the NPDR goes live. Only consented
information is sent to the NPDR, where the
patient has consented for their information
to go to the PCEHR. The NPDR is being built
by Fred IT Group, and follows on from work
done by Fred in the MedView trial which
was one of the Wave 2 eHealth trial sites for
The patient has very granular control over
what appears in the PCEHR, and who can
access this information. Records can be
added or not added to the PCEHR, such as
individual prescription items. The patient
can also hide the fact that they have a
record, add an access code to the entire
record to control who can view the record, or
control which healthcare professional can see
which individual records.
A patient can view their PCEHR by logging
in through Australia.gov.au using a browser
on the internet. As health professionals, if a
patient grants access to their record, we
can view consented information. This view
is either through a provider portal, which
is a browser-based access with a bit of
technical rigmarole to get going, but more
than likely the way we will see patient
records is through our dispensing software.
Assuming everything is in place, viewing a
patient's prescribe and dispense records in
the PCEHR is integrated and streamlined to
access from the software. 'Everything in place'
can be quite a process, and involves a few
forms, obtaining the correct certificates and
ensuring that the pharmacy and pharmacists
are registered in the appropriate places.
This process is becoming easier as more
pharmacies and doctors are registering, and
is a one-off setup task.
What does it actually mean?
In the end, what it means is that we can
have relatively streamlined access to a
patient's electronic record to be able to see a
consolidated list of medicines prescribed and
medicines dispensed across all participating
doctors, pharmacies and hospitals.
Skipping tracks on the record
As you have probably gathered by reading
this far, the information in a PCEHR may not
be complete. Not every pharmacy, doctor,
or hospital will be connected, and most
importantly, the patient can choose and
control what information is added to the
record and who can view each entry in the
record. Time and experience with PCEHR will
show the end result of this, but the potential
benefits are immense.
Get a record
There is much more to talk about and explore
with everything I've covered so far in this
article -- much more than I can do in one
page. In the interim, take the time to sign up
for a record yourself (www.ehealth.gov.au)
so that you know what your customers will
be going through, and so that you can help
them on this new journey.
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