What is SafeScript?
SafeScript is an electronic clinical tool that provides real-time information about a patient’s prescription history for certain high-risk medicines. We are lucky to have it here in Victoria before the national roll out. It is currently voluntary but will be mandatory by April 2020.
The number of overdose deaths in Victoria involving pharmaceutical medicines is higher than the number of overdose deaths involving illicit drugs and, since 2012, has exceeded the road toll. GPs are all challenged from time to time by patients with substance abuse issues. Despite the permit system it is often unclear if patients are accessing high-risk medicines elsewhere.
SafeScript allows instant real time access to data about prescriptions written and dispensed, with an inbuilt alert system for risky combinations of drugs or behaviours, such as multiple prescribers. In addition, GPs can review their active schedule 8 permits.
SafeScript provides prescribers and pharmacists with a clinical tool to make safer decisions about whether to prescribe or dispense a high-risk medicine, and facilitate the early identification, treatment and support for patients who are developing signs of dependence.
Do GPs need consent to access SafeScript?
Consent from the patient is not required to access SafeScript if GPs are directly providing care, as standing consent exists as part of providing safe care to that patient. The My Health Record also includes a list of the patient’s prescription and dispense records and other PBS claims information. Many patients have opted out of the My Health Record, but this is a standalone system. This includes the ability to check a new patient prior to seeing them.
What if I have concerns about my patients?
Using the SafeScript program is likely to identify risky behaviours in some patients. It is then up to providers to determine whether those patients require treatment or whether they can continue to be prescribed high-risk medications.
This is likely to mean that GPs will have some difficult conversations with patients about their medication use. To support GPs, training sessions are being run both face to face and online that include how to use the system and how to have difficult conversations with patients.
- Online training modules and a number of other resources are available on the Victorian and Tasmanian PHN Alliance website.
- You can also attend a face-to-face session on SafeScript on 9 May: register here.
The General Practitioner Clinical Advisory Service (GPCAS) is a telephone hotline that has been set up for GPs to seek peer-to-peer advice on how to support patients. This service can be accessed through the DACAS service by calling 1800 812 804 (DACAS Victoria) and asking to be referred to the service.
How do I get SafeScript in my practice?
SafeScript is easy to register for and use. You can set pop-up alerts in most clinical software. Below are the simple steps needed to get set up in the system and access to some training videos.
- To register go to safescript.vic.gov.au. Registration is linked to your Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) number or email.
- To set up pop-up alerts in your clinical software visit the health.vic website.
Where can I find further information?
HealthPathways Melbourne has a page on SafeScript that includes information on:
- Medicines monitored in SafeScript
- SafeScript patient notifications
- Technological requirements for practices and pharmacies
- Training and support
- Patient access and legal and permit requirements
For access to HealthPathways please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find further information on the Victorian Department of Health SafeScript website.
Disclaimer: This article was provided by NWMPHN. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.