Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist Nov 2013 Contents 32 Australian Pharmacist November 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
EARLY CAREER PHARMACIST FOCUS
eHealth records will change
how we deliver healthcare
By Kim Trieu
Kim Trieu is a practicing early career community
pharmacist in Adelaide. She is currently
completing a Masters degree in Technology
Business, covering topics such as data
management and computer systems design.
The eHealth record system, previously known as the Personally Controlled
Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system, is an online system developed by the
Australian Government to record key consumer health information.
This information can be shared among
healthcare providers involved in a
consumer's health care to assist in
maintaining ongoing patient care. It will
include a shared health summary which
contains information relating to allergies,
adverse reactions, medications and past
medications, and immunisations. In the
future it is envisaged, pathology test results
and diagnostic imaging will also be included.
Launched in 2012, the net direct benefits of
the $766 billion system to the government,
private health sectors, and households are
expected to be over $11.5 billion by 2025.
It's relevance to early career pharmacists
will only increase as they progress through
How will it a ect pharmacists?
Once a consumer provides initial consent
for all healthcare providers involved in
their care to access their personal health
record, the consumer eHealth record can
be viewed and used to support clinical
The eHealth record prescription and
dispense function displays drug information
such as brand name, generic name, the date
when a medication was prescribed and
dispensed, the form of the medication,
the strength of the medication, and the
directions for use. However, this is not
intended to replace existing medical and
Prescription information is transferred
to a consumers' eHealth record via
prescription exchange services such as
eRx and MediSecure. These electronic
prescriptions, whereby the prescribing,
supply, and claiming stages are done purely
electronically, aim to reduce medication
errors and fraud, among many other
benefits. To date, PBS claim errors have been
reported as a result of the eHealth record,
due to pharmacy or prescriber anomalies.
Why should pharmacists get
It is anticipated that eHealth records will
save pharmacists valuable time. Expected
benefits from pharmacy participation
include reduced numbers of adverse drug
reactions through the availability of more
consumer medication information, better
ability to assist consumers with chronic
and complex conditions in managing their
medications, reduced human errors such
as misreading prescription instructions,
better continuity of care, and assistance
for individuals to be more active with
According to NEHTA (National E-Health
Transition Authority), as of 10 July, 3,723
general practices and 271 community
pharmacies were registered on the eHealth
record system, primarily in Tasmania,
Queensland and Victoria. Labor's health
spokesperson, Tanya Plibersek, has stated
that over 800,000 consumers have registered
to the system. Although uptake is increasing
rapidly, NEHTA states that meaningful use
and the true benefits are yet to be observed.
South Australia now has the largest number
of hospitals currently releasing discharge
summaries onto the eHealth record system,
using a uniform approach mandated by
SA Health. Existing patient administration
systems such as OACIS are currently being
used to rollout the discharge summaries,
but will be replaced by the web-based EPAS
(Enterprise Patient Administration System)
solution through an agreement with SA
Health and Allscripts, the designers behind
How do pharmacists get
Eventually all pharmacies will have access to
the eHealth record system, but at this stage,
it is only available for adoption on Fred and
Aquarius dispensing software. A special access
number known as a Healthcare Provider
Identifier (HPI) is required to access and
interact with the eHealth record system. There
are two types of HPI numbers; the HPI-I is a
number for individual pharmacists, and the
HPI-O is a number for a whole organisation
such as a pharmacy. All pharmacists registered
with AHPRA have already been provided
with an HPI-I. To identify your HPI-I, you
can logon to 'Your Account' on the AHPRA
website, or call AHPRA on 1300 419 495.
Alternatively, pharmacists can call the
Healthcare Identifier Service on 1300 361 457.
Pharmacy owners are required to obtain an
HPI-O for their pharmacy, and can do so by
visiting the HPI Service page on the Medicare
The system will build up over time, so NEHTA
are encouraging pharmacists to adopt the
system earlier on and learn its functions.
However, the Pharmacy Guild is advising
pharmacies outside of lead eHealth sites not
to adopt the system just yet, as readiness of
the system for pharmacies is only moderate.
Difficulties identifying individual pharmacists
in their pharmacies have been to blame.
What other solutions will be
Community pharmacies using eRx
prescription services will have the
opportunity to subscribe to their upcoming
ePrescription smartphone app, which will
allow consumers to send their prescriptions
to pharmacies electronically.
In addition, pharmacists may also participate
in telehealth strategies around Australia.
A recent example of this is LivePharmChat
(livepharmchat.com), an online application
that seeks to enable pharmacists to hold
consultations remotely via text, voice or
video chat using web-enabled technologies.
There is no doubt that we will be seeing
many more pharmacy technology
innovations in the near future -- as an early
career pharmacist it is vital to stay on top of
these changes in the profession.
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