Preparing for SafeScript: information for doctors and pharmacists

22 May, 2018

SafeScript, Victoria’s real-time prescription monitoring system, is on track for implementation to start later this year. Roll-out will commence in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network catchment area before being extended to the remainder of Victoria in early 2019.

After an 18-month introductory period, it will be mandatory for clinicians in Victoria to check SafeScript when writing or dispensing a prescription for a medicine monitored through the system. These are all Schedule 8 medicines, Schedule 4 benzodiazepines, z-drugs (zolpidem and zopiclone) and quetiapine. Schedule 4 codeine will be included at a later stage to allow clinicians time to adjust to the reschedule of over-the-counter codeine products to prescription only.

SafeScript will collect prescription records in real-time from proscribing and dispensing systems connected to a Prescription Exchange Services (PES), eRx or MediSecure, without any additional data entry required by clinicians.

Some regulatory changes are necessary to ensure accurate and complete patient data in the system.   These changes will take effect from 1 July 2018 and will require:

  • prescribers to include the patient's date of birth on all prescriptions for monitored medicines. This is applicable to both handwritten and computer generated scripts.
  • pharmacists to ensure, when a monitored medicine is dispensed, the patient’s date of birth is recorded in the patient’s dispensing record. 
  • under the new regulations, all community pharmacies that have not activated the connection with a PES in their software need to turn on the connection by contacting their software vendor.

Clinical software should prompt clinicians to include date of birth for computer generated scripts and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is engaging with vendors to support this change.

Connection to a PES is highly recommend for medical clinics to enable a better user experience for GPs when they use SafeScript. This is easy, free and medical clinics can contact their prescribing software vendor to ensure they are connected. Through this connection, GPs will receive pop-up notifications from their desktops to inform them when to review the patient’s history in SafeScript and take them directly to the relevant record.

More information about how clinicians can prepare for the implementation can be found on the SafeScript web page or click here.