ACT launches real-time prescription tracking system

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The Australian Capital Territory government has rolled out its new real-time prescription monitoring system that will help doctors and pharmacists prescribe or dispense monitored medicines.

Canberra Script is a web portal that will replace the online remote access to the Drugs and Poisons Information System (known as DORA), which has been in operation since 2019.

This digital tool will provide information on controlled drugs (Annex 8) and certain prescription-only drugs (Annex 4) that are associated with abuse or misuse, such as benzodiazepines. Physicians can also seek Chief Medical Officer approval through the portal to prescribe controlled medications.

In a press release issued in May last year, ACT health management mentioned that Canberra Script will include real-time alerts and notifications that notify healthcare professionals of signs that their patients are having a drug-seeking behavior, such as shopping at the doctor.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

Implementing Canberra Script will help healthcare professionals make safe and effective prescribing decisions. It will also allow them to better identify and support patients who may be at risk of harm or addiction to prescription drugs.

The past decade has seen an increasing number of deaths in Australia attributed to drug use, including overdoses and chronic use. Preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed there were nearly 2,000 drug-related deaths in 2020, with the rate higher in the regions than in the capitals. About two-thirds of the deaths were considered accidental and the rest intentional.

“It is important that those prescribing and dispensing drugs know what other drugs the patient is taking or has recently taken, as some drugs can be harmful when taken in high doses or in combination with other drugs,” said Rachel Stephen-Smith, ACT Health Minister. said in the last press release.

Still, “Canberrans need to be reassured that the system will not disadvantage patients who are in clinical need of a drug,” the minister said.

THE GREAT TREND

Canberra Script is part of the wider rollout of the latest national RTPM system across the country. In April last year, South Australia launched its own system called ScriptCheck SA. NSW Health, meanwhile, is still in the first phase of implementing its SafeScript NSW system which began in November. Additionally, the Northern Territory is expected to go live with NTScript this month.

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