All Victorian doctors, pharmacists and nurse practitioners, unless already registered, should have received an email this month with a link and instructions on how to register for SafeScript; Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system. The aim of the system is to enable doctors to make safer decisions about whether to prescribe or dispense high-risk medicines.
SafeScript provides doctors with access to comprehensive prescription information to help identify circumstances where a patient may be at risk of harm from the use of a medicine. However, it does not prevent doctors from prescribing or dispensing a medicine they consider to be clinically necessary.
From April 2020, it will be mandatory for doctors to check a patient’s prescription history in SafeScript before prescribing a ‘monitored medicine’. This group of prescription medicines have been determined based on evidence of the greatest risk of harm to the Victorian community and includes; strong opioid painkillers and medicines for anxiety or sleeping tablets (including but not limited to benzodiazepines), stimulants for ADHD or narcolepsy and other high risk medicines such as ketamine and quetiapine.
Over 10,000 doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists have already registered to use SafeScript to enhance their clinical decision-making.
SafeScript training can be accessed from the SafeScript training hub. If you have missed out on face to face training in your area, you can register your interest for forthcoming webinars.
For general practitioners who require additional support in treating patients with high-risk prescription medication concerns and complex needs, new GP Clinical Advisors are available on the Drug and Alcohol Advisory Service: 1800 812 804.
The practice software programs Best Practice, Medical Director, Genie and ZedMed now offer integration with SafeScript. When you prescribe a monitored medicine through integrated software, a pop-up notification will appear within seconds. Amber or red notifications will notify if there is information in SafeScript requiring attention. Clicking on the notification takes you directly to the patient's record.
If you utilise written prescriptions for your patients, details of the prescription will still be captured in SafeScript at the point of dispensing by the pharmacist. All pharmacists are legally required to provide data to the system by activating a connection to a prescription exchange service (PES). In this way, a doctor can be sure they can see all monitored medicine prescriptions dispensed to a particular patient. There is no option to opt out of this data capture.
Visit www.health.vic.gov.au/safescript for steps on how to integrate SafeScript with your software.
Read our article on how SafeScript works and regulatory changes that took effect from 2 July 2018.
If you need expert advice around prescribing drugs of dependence, email our Medico-legal Advisory Service on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 128 268, available 24/7 in emergencies.