Electronic prescriptions, or eScripts, are a new alternative to paper prescriptions. They’re designed to be a convenient and efficient way to get your medicine using QR code technology, which you may already be familiar with.
What is an electronic prescription (eScript)?
An electronic prescription, or eScript, is a digital version of a paper prescription. It’s sent to you by your doctor in the form of a QR code, or token, as it’s referred to in an eScript.
eScripts are different to the image-based prescriptions you may have used where your doctor takes a picture of a handwritten script and emails or faxes it to your pharmacist. An eScript can only be sent directly to you, your doctor can’t send it to your pharmacist.
How eScripts work
- Your doctor sends you a text message or email containing a link to a unique QR code.
- You can either take your smart device to a pharmacy and show the QR code to your pharmacist, or you can forward the message to your pharmacist if they offer a home delivery service.
- Your pharmacist scans the QR code to retrieve the details of your script and dispenses as normal.
You receive one QR code per eScript which can include one or multiple medications. For example, if your doctor prescribes two medications to the one eScript, you will be sent just the one QR code. Your pharmacist then sees the details of the two medications when they scan the QR code.
Once your pharmacist scans the QR code you will no longer be able to use that same token, so you should delete the eScript message when you have been given your medicine. You can tell whether an eScript has been filled by clicking on the link in your message, it will let you know whether it’s been filled or is no longer available.
If a carer or family member normally collects your medicine on your behalf, all you need to do is forward them the message so they can continue to collect it for you.
How repeat prescriptions work
For repeat prescriptions, your pharmacist will send you a new QR code after each repeat is dispensed. This happens until all the repeats are complete, so you will need to keep the new message until it’s time to get your medicine again.
If you accidently delete a message with a QR code you will need to go back to your doctor to ask for a new eScript, just like you would if you lost a paper script.
Benefits of eScripts
- Can help to reduce medication mistakes caused by illegible handwritten scripts.
- No need to worry about lost paper scripts as you will have the script in the form of a text or email.
- Supports telehealth services where your doctor can directly send you your script in the form of a text or email.
- eScripts are environmentally friendly.
When will eScripts be available?
eScripts are available for use now across Australia. Check with your doctor and local pharmacy to see whether they’re prescribing and dispensing medicine electronically.
Are eScripts safe?
Yes. Your details and script are kept private and secure through encryption (a secure way of sending information). Your script can only be ‘unlocked’ by your pharmacist.
What you need to get eScripts
You will need either a smartphone or an email address so your doctor can send you the eScript. It’s a good idea to check your doctor and pharmacist have your correct mobile number and/or email address on file.
If you don’t have a smartphone or email address, your eScript can be sent to a family member, friend or carer on your behalf.
Are paper scripts still available?
Yes, you can still ask for paper scripts if you’re not ready to switch to eScripts.
For more information visit digitalhealth.gov.au