NZePS provides a secure messaging channel for prescribing and dispensing systems to exchange prescription information electronically. It enables a prescription to be generated by the prescriber, transmitted to the NZePS health information exchange broker, and downloaded electronically at a community pharmacy. It can reduce prescription errors occurring at the prescriber/pharmacy interface.
The prescriber can note the reason for prescribing and make other comments at the time of prescribing. This will be sent as part of the prescription information passed electronically to the pharmacy. Prescribers can request a notification when a patient's medication has not been dispensed, and pharmacists can send dispensing comments back to the prescriber.
You will have received a FAQ from the Ministry regarding signature exempt prescriptions. There is a current Director-General of Health waiver that permits signature exempt prescriptions for non-controlled drugs that have been generated through ePrescribing. It also includes a temporary waiver for those on practice management systems that are not able to generate ePrescriptions.
This is a great opportunity to enhance the processes around virtual care.
The Ministry of Health have introduced new rules to make it easier for you to provide electronic prescriptions to support virtual care. This is especially important during the COVID-19 epidemic when exchanging paper prescriptions between prescriber, patient and pharmacy is burdensome, challenging and unsafe.
Some of the rules apply to systems that are integrated to the New Zealand Electronic Prescription Service (NZePS). Others are temporary and will expire when the COVID-19 alert levels are lowered. Please see this memo from the MOH to learn more (PDF).
The first step to become eligible for signature exempt prescriptions is to set up ePrescribing. Details follow for various practice management systems.
All indici practices are already ePrescribing. Communication has gone out to indici practices to identify practices that want to move to signature exempt ePrescribing along with tutorial videos. If you haven't already done so please touch base with Nikki Sargent who will support you through this process: email@example.com
Pinnacle have worked with both the Ministry of Health and Medtech to get all practices set up in the NZePS broker so that you can activate ePrescribing yourself.
By uploading your details to the Ministry there is no obligation for a practice to activate their practice and there are no current costs for Medtech practices for the first three months.
It is important before activating that your infrastructure meets the minimum requirements for the NZePS service. Please follow the instructions to activate your practice for ePrescribing in this Medtech activation process one-page guide (PDF). There is more comprehensive information in the Medtech Evolution activation guide (PDF) and Medtech 32 guide (PDF) including user manuals and webinars. The webinars go through step by step how the system works and are worth watching: https://insight.medtechglobal.com/home-prelogin/covid-19-health-professional-advice/
A few important things when setting up...
Practices using My Practice are also set up with the NZePS broker, but will need to contact your PMS provider for further details on how to set up.
Profile practices are unable at this stage to use e prescribing, but there is a temporary waver until 24 September 2020 for you to generate a prescription without a signature, while work is being completed by your vendor to enable ePrescribing.
Once you are set up with ePrescribing your prescribers will also have the functionality to do signature exempt prescriptions for all medications apart from controlled drugs. Note: all prescriptions will need to be initiated by the prescribers which may mean process within your practice may need to change.
The following criteria must be met to be signature exempt:
See more on the Ministry of Health page: signature exempt prescriptions and remote prescribing.
You can send a signature exempt prescription via HealthLink to any pharmacy that has a HealthLink EDI mailbox. You can also fax a signature exempt prescription if the pharmacy is using a fax machine.
The ability to generate signature exempt prescriptions when NZePS is used is ‘an enduring capability’ subject to requirements detailed here - i.e. it has a bar code and is not a controlled drug.
If your practice management system is Profile, work is being done to enable ePrescribing but in the meantime there is a temporary waver until September 2020. This means during this time you can generate a prescription without a signature and fax this directly to the pharmacy.
Please see this memo on the approval to issue controlled drugs via ePrescribing (PDF) due to the COVID-19 response. Controlled drugs includes those classified as class C - these are explained in this document (PDF).
Read the Ministry of Health NZePS get started guide (click 'Setting up and Using NZePS' and found under Downloads') which provides further information regarding controlled drugs (including methadone prescribing).
For all support from the Ministry of Health contact firstname.lastname@example.org (reference NZePS)
Michelle Bayley, Clinical Governance Programme Manager
027 590 1241