SafeScript – real-time prescription monitoring prescriber and pharmacist training project
The Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN) catchment will be the study area for the Victorian Government’s real-time prescription monitoring system called SafeScript. This follows the announcement, in 2017, of Western Victoria PHN leading a consortium to develop and deliver training and education on the system for doctors and pharmacists across the state.
The system will monitor all Schedule 8 medicines, and some Schedule 4 medicines, because of their high risk of misuse. The legislative framework underpinning the implementation of SafeScript was passed through Parliament in October 2017.
The SafeScript system training for prescribers and pharmacists in western Victoria will be a mixture of online modules and face-to-face sessions and will commence from September this year. It will be implemented across western Victorian medical clinics, pharmacies and hospitals in late 2018. Safescript will be rolled out across the rest of Victoria early 2019.
Real-time prescription monitoring is a clinical decision support system that will allow doctors and pharmacists to access an up-to-the-minute medication supply history of certain high-risk medicines for their patient at the point of consultation.
The increasing harms and deaths from the misuse of prescription medicines is a growing major public health concern in Victoria. In 2016, there were 372 Victorian drug overdose deaths involving pharmaceutical medicines, higher than the number of overdose deaths involving illicit drugs (257), and higher than the road toll (291).
The recommendations were based on the findings from a comprehensive literature review undertaken by Austin Health and Melbourne University to gather evidence on which prescription medicines cause the greatest harm to the community.
The SafeScript system will be accompanied by a range of initiatives to support and prepare patients and health professionals for the implementation of SafeScript. This will include:
- A public awareness campaign to prepare the general public of SafeScript and to improve the understanding of the risks associated with some prescription medicines
- Training for prescribers and pharmacists, on how to more safely prescribe and dispense high risk medications and respond to the needs of patients
- Additional peer to peer support for General Practitioners.