Thursday 12 November 2009


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - The Commonwealth's National E-health Transition Authority, NEHTA, is working to establish a coordinated and consistent approach in developing a national electronic prescribing system in our health services.  This would represent a considerable efficiency gain.  The Commonwealth legislative barriers to the introduction of an electronic prescribing system were removed in March 2007.  What Tasmanian legislative barriers to introducing the system have been identified and when will we see legislation to remove them?

Mr PARKINSON - I thank the honourable member for his question.  Changes to the Poisons Regulations 2008 have already been made to allow for electronic prescribing.  Regulation 16, electronic prescriptions of narcotic substances, and regulation 42, electronic prescriptions for restricted substances, are the relevant regulations.  To date no application has been made to the Department of Health and Human Services to approve a GP electronic prescribing system.  The only electronic system approved to date is the ARIA system at the Launceston General Hospital for the electronic drug charts ordering.  The delegations for approvals reside with the secretary, chief pharmacist and deputy chief pharmacist.  The other area where approval may be granted is for electronic registers.  A document has been developed addressing the required areas that would need to be addressed before this approval could be given.  Approvals prior to NEHTA standards coming online would be interim approvals only and further requirements may be required once these standards are issued.

At a national level, through the National Coordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods, NCCTG, which includes all the chief pharmacists and the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration, there are moves to have national consistency across the jurisdictions as to the required elements for electronic systems, in particular electronic Schedule 8 narcotic registers.