If you have needed a prescription over the last month or so you may have noticed a bit of a change.
Your prescription now has a barcode and number in the bottom right hand corner. This is because we are now producing the new NZePS electronic prescriptions, which means the information necessary for your prescription is now sent directly to your pharmacy when they scan the code.
Sumner Health Centre is one of the first practices in Christchurch to be using this innovative new system. The other is our sister practice in Hei Hei.
So, what is the code for?
This is part of a move promoted by the Ministry of Health to ensure that prescribing is safe, properly controlled and can be monitored easily.
When we write a prescription, the full information is passed to a brokerage system.
When you hand the prescription to a pharmacist, the code allows them to retrieve the prescription information directly into their medication management system. The code can then no longer be used elsewhere.
This has a number of advantages for you:
- It is much harder for mistakes to be made as there is no need to copy our prescriptions out manually
- We can write more detailed instructions as the pharmacist will no longer have to copy them out.
- If we need to support you, we can be informed if you do not pick up your medication.
- You can still use any pharmacy you like.
- If needed, we can add useful messages to the pharmacy (such as advising them we are changing other medications)
- This will help create a reliable source of information about the medications you have been prescribed.
- The greater reliability of transmission and lower costs at the pharmacy means most pharmacies no longer charge extra for faxed e-prescriptions.
- We are now able to cancel prescriptions if you lose them so it may be easier to have prescriptions you have lost replaced.
One of the big concerns about the expansion of electronic information sharing is your privacy.
Privacy is very important and in healthcare we have made it almost a religion. We are very careful how we share information about you and this includes with Government agencies. In this case, we have examined the processes and we are satisfied that the personally identifiable information held about you is deleted once it is no longer necessary for the NZePS to work. Some non-identifiable information is retained to allow monitoring of medication use and to manage billing within the health system.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask one of our staff.