I want to implement SafeScript in my pharmacy. What do I do, and how long does the process take?
SafeScript is an initiative by the Victorian Government which has established a clinical decision-making tool in the form of a real-time record of all prescriptions for specific medicines.
SafeScript draws data from Prescription Exchanges Serivces (PES) when prescriptions for monitored medicines are issued or dispensed. Monitored medicines include all Controlled Drugs, all benzodiazepines, zopiclone, zolpidem, quetiapine and products containing codeine.
The service is available to all pharmacists in Victoria, and will be compulsory from April 2020. While not yet compulsory, pharmacists should be using this system now.
One of the effects evident in the 13 months of activity following its roll-out in April 2018, is that 11,000 clinicians have begun utilising the service and SafeScript has helped those clinicians identify 15,000 instances of a person visiting more than four health providers for monitored medicines within the specified time period.
SafeScript also helped to identify 13,000 people who were prescribed doses that could be excessive, or in combinations that could increase risks.
There is a clear advantage for a pharmacist to have access to this information when making a decision about the appropriateness or safety of supplying a medicine at a specific point in time, especially from the perspective of assisting a person to access different services that may be relevant to their circumstances.
The process of registering for SafeScript is relatively simple, and requires two specific activities to be completed:
- Individual registration:
Every pharmacist registers through the SafeScript portal at www.safescript.vic.gov.au. This will require your AHPRA registration, date of birth, and contact details for the pharmacy at which you will access SafeScript.
- Enabling software:
Visit vic.health1 for instructions on downloading SafeScript software for each terminal used within the pharmacy. You will also find instructions for ‘manual’ access via the portal for systems that do not yet have integrated software solutions.
Implementing SafeScript in isolation from your colleagues is less than ideal. A discussion in the workplace about the ease of implementation and wealth of clinical information SafeScript provides can help to ensure that all staff within the pharmacy are aware of the role of SafeScript, correct processes for accessing a person’s record, and how to proceed in the instance where a pharmacist identifies a request to dispense what they consider unsafe.
Importantly, each pharmacist needs to register individually for SafeScript – accessing a person’s medical information under another heath professional’s credentials is not permitted. Pharmacists should familiarise themselves with referral pathways for allied health, specialist pain treatment options, specialist substance use disorder options, and the use of motivational counselling to overcome dangerous health choices.
The Federal Government has committed to a national Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) service, interoperability between state and territory systems. Most states and territories are now actively working towards implementing RTPM systems in their jurisdictions.
The impact of SafeScript as a clinical tool on medicine safety is clear. RTPM cannot come soon enough to the rest of Australia’s prescribers and pharmacists.
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- health.vic. SafeScript. 2018. At: www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/safescript/access-and-setup