Electronic Prescriptions Have Landed in Bp Saffron!

bp blog electronic prescriptions landed

With the release of Saffron, it’s a good time to review the latest changes to Electronic Prescriptions in Bp Premier, and provide an update on the enablement materials that exist for both Jade and Saffron users. With all of the changes to Electronic Prescribing and Bp Premier over the last six months, the documentation team have been busy updating our materials to keep providing the latest information for our users in the Bp Premier Knowledge Base.

Enabling Electronic Prescribing

If you’re running Jade SP3 or Jade SP4 and you haven’t yet enabled Electronic Prescribing, the good news is that the January Data Update (available from our resources page) automatically activates Electronic Prescribing for Bp Premier. You don’t need to download a utility and check your postcode; all you need to do is run the January Data Update, if you haven’t already.

After you run the January update, you’ll still need to switch on Electronic Prescribing in Bp Premier Configuration for your Practice and the providers who will be using it, but this is simply a case of ticking a checkbox.

If you’ve already upgraded to Saffron, congratulations – you’ve already activated Electronic Prescribing!

Any configuration you had in Jade SP3 or SP4 will be carried through after your upgrade. Just resume issuing Electronic Prescriptions with no changes to what you’re doing now.

Finding Information About Electronic Prescribing

The documentation team has updated all of our existing materials and FAQs to do with Electronic Prescribing systems in Bp Premier, with new guidance on:

  • Supported states and territories
  • Can I send a token directly to pharmacies?
  • The prerequisites to successfully send a token
  • Cancelling sent and unsent tokens.

If you’re running version Jade, select Help > Online in Bp Premier and search for ‘Electronic Prescribing’ in the search bar. You’ll see our updated articles on Setting up electronic scripts, an industry FAQ, a Masterclass FAQ with Q&As from our users, and an introduction to Electronic Prescribing How-to for new starters.

If you’ve upgraded to Saffron, it’s even easier! Select Help > Online and click the Electronic Prescribing tile to open the new Saffron Series learning resources page for Electronic Prescribing in Saffron.

While you’re there, click on the other New Feature tiles to view learning resources for all of the other many, many features that come with Saffron, including Active Ingredient Prescribing.

What’s New for Electronic Prescriptions in Saffron?

Electronic Prescribing in Bp Premier has been updated in Saffron to seamlessly integrate with Bp Comms functionality, including sending tokens to the Best Health App. Electronic Prescriptions can now automatically generate a contact note that is recorded in a patient’s contact record with the Practice, with no additional action required by the provider.

In the same vein, more information about electronic script activity is recorded in the Bp Premier audit log, for troubleshooting and Practice peace of mind.

Just like Jade, the Saffron Knowledge Base features FAQs from both industry and our own users. Remember that our FAQs will be updated after the Saffron Series overview and FAQ sessions running the week starting January 18, in response to the questions that you, our users, are asking, so keep checking back if you have questions about Saffron and electronic prescribing.

At the bottom of every article in our Knowledge Base is a feedback box, so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask for it! Our documentation team checks feedback daily in the weeks following a release, and will action queries as fast as we can.

Welcome to Saffron!

Authored by:

Jay Rose - Bp Software

Jay Rose
Technical Writer at Best Practice Software

Australian Government Health Initiatives – A Look at the Past, Present and Future

Australian Government Health Initiatives Blog Post Image

Necessity is the mother of invention. It’s a phrase that many of us have likely heard before, and it’s one that, in many ways, encapsulates how agile the world has had to be in navigating the curveball that was the year 2020.

To combat the various challenges that have arrived with the COVID-19 pandemic, a range of Australian government health initiatives have been mobilised to adapt to the changing healthcare landscape.

Electronic Prescribing

Arguably the most impactful of 2020’s Australian government health initiatives was the fast-tracking of the ePrescribing rollout. With Practices closing to walk-in patients and reverting almost entirely to remote and telehealth consultations, Electronic Prescribing was the next logical step in minimising risk to both doctors and patients.

To assist with the introduction of ePrescribing in the Bp Premier Jade SP3 update, we produced a range of content helping Practices to get started with ePrescribing, our training team produced an Electronic Prescribing Masterclass, and we were proud to announce that Australia’s first ePrescription was processed through Bp Premier in May 2020.

While Electronic Prescribing has been an invaluable tool during the COVID-19 pandemic, the convenience it offers both doctors and patients is a benefit that will remain a constant well into the future.

Secure Messaging

A core part of healthcare in Australia today is the ongoing communication between healthcare providers. As is the nature of discussing medical issues, many of the communications are sensitive in nature, and are often transmitted over unsecure channels, or channels that experience incompatibilities – leading to the potential of communication breakdown, poor outcomes and an inefficient transfer of information.

The national Australian government health initiative on Secure Messaging was agreed upon in 2019 and began work in 2020 in an effort to improve the encrypted electronic exchange of patient healthcare information between healthcare providers. Typical use cases included discharge summaries, referrals and requests and the receipt of results.

Bp Software’s Commercial and Customer Enablement Manager Monica Reed wrote an article on the Secure Messaging initiative, outlining the importance of the functionality, how Best Practice Software got involved, and when Practices can expect Enhanced Secure Messaging to be more widely available.

Active Ingredient Prescribing

From February 2021, prescribing medication by its active ingredient will be a mandatory requirement. This was announced alongside the government’s 2018-2019 Electronic Prescribing budget, and means Practices will need to be on the latest software version to comply, Bp Premier Saffron and Bp VIP.net Ruby SP3.

The regulation mandates the inclusion of active ingredients on all PBS and RPBS prescriptions, with exceptions for handwritten prescriptions, paper-based medication charts in residential aged care settings. medicines with four or more active ingredients and non-medicinal items which don’t have active ingredients (e.g. dressings, nutritional products). Brand names will be able to be included in the prescription if deemed clinically necessary by the prescriber, but the active ingredient will still need to be listed first as per regulations.

To help prepare our customers for this change, we produced an introductory article, outlining what Active Ingredient Prescribing would mean for your Practice, as well as videos explaining the process and impact of the initiative on both patients and practitioners – helping to bring everyone up to speed before the regulations take effect in early 2021.

Real-Time Prescription Monitoring

Though technically introduced late in 2019, the National Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) initiative has seen significant progress in 2020.

The misuse of controlled substances and medication is an area of growing concern. The RTPM initiative is designed to help reduce the misuse of controlled substances, while ensuring that patients who genuinely need these medications can still get them. The RTPM initiative consists of a National Data Exchange (NDE), and regulatory systems managed by each individual state or territory.

States are now working to integrate their regulatory systems with the database – as we’ve seen successfully occur with Victoria’s SafeScripts platform, and the soon to be delivered ScriptCheckSA in South Australia.

Read more about the Real Time Prescription Monitoring initiative here.

National Cancer Screening Register

The last, but certainly not least among 2020’s important initiatives was the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR), and this integration is available in Bp Premier with our latest Saffron release.

The NCSR is a Department of Health initiative developed to encourage and support bowel cancer and cervical cancer screening. The register has been developed by Telstra Health in partnership with state and territory governments. We’ve partnered with Telstra Health and government departments to integrate the NCSR with Bp Premier to enable simple electronic capture of cancer related health information.

The NCSR provides a range of significant benefits to patients – such as screening reminders and having their doctor make better informed decision with access to their screening history, but it benefits practitioners as well through the ability to order screening test kits, receiving reminders for patients who are overdue for a screening or follow-up, and manage their patients’ program participation.

All of this is now accessible through Bp Premier’s Saffron release, and you can read an article on the National Cancer Screening Register initiative here.

Australian Government Health Initiatives in 2021

Electronic Prescription Token Solution to Integrate with Medisecure

In supporting 2020’s ePrescribing rollout, and the initial introduction of an electronic prescribing token solution integrated with the eRx prescription exchange service, Bp Software will introduce an electronic prescribing token solution integrated with the Medisecure prescription exchange service in Saffron SP1.

We’ve listened to the feedback and understood that a choice of prescription exchange is important to our GP users, so we are working together with Medisecure to deliver this in our next release.

Supporting the Active Script List

In 2021 we’ll be working with the relevant government bodies to extend Bp Premier’s Electronic Prescribing functionality to support the Active Script List. Currently, when a patient seeks to fill a prescription electronically, they do so via a token on their electronic device. A token that is lost, misplaced or accidentally deleted needs to be resent to the patient by the Practice.

Under the Active Script List initiative, pharmacists will be able to verify a patient’s identity and view their valid electronic prescriptions, then safely dispense the necessary medications.

The primary goal of the Active Script List is to overcome the issue of lost tokens, and assist medication management and adherence, especially for patients who are on a schedule of multiple medications.

Medicare Web Services

The Medicare Client Adaptor is how providers currently connect to Medicare Online Claiming, however the technology is quickly becoming dated and providers are being encouraged to transition to the new method of connection, called Web Services. From the 13th of March in 2022, the Medicare Client Adaptor will be retired and no longer accessible.

Currently, Bp Premier and Bp VIP.net connect to Services Australia using the Medicare Client Adaptor. However, due to the eventual transition over to Web Services, there is significant work being undertaken to update Bp Premier and Bp VIP.net to utilise this newer method of authentication and connection.

You can read more about Medicare Web Services here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting Initiatives

Currently in Australia, the recording of vaccinations is encouraged, but not mandatory. A bill currently moving through Australian Parliament will compel GPs and other vaccine providers to report all newly administered vaccines to the Australian Immunisation Register. The aim of the bill is to support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, and the ongoing administration of the National Immunisation Program.

In preparation of the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, Bp Premier’s latest Saffron release provides the functionality to record a patient’s vaccine serial number.

Bp Software is committed and actively participating in government and industry information sessions to ensure that, as we learn more about the mandatory reporting requirements and anticipated upload of vaccine data to the Australian Immunisation Register, we can ensure that our products will comply with user needs.

2020 presented the world, and the healthcare industry in particular, with many unique challenges. While many of the Australian government health initiatives outlined above already had wheels in motion, the fast tracking and prioritising of their rollouts have helped the healthcare industry to remain adaptive to a rapidly shifting landscape.

Important initiatives continue to be the focus in 2021, and will no doubt help to strengthen the Australian healthcare industry – offering innumerable benefits for providers, practitioners and patients alike.

How to Avoid Surprises When Upgrading Bp Premier

Upgrade your car | Upgrading Bp Premier

With Active Ingredient Prescribing just around the corner, it’s important that your Practice considers upgrading Bp Premier to Saffron as soon as possible.

We’ve made some great improvements to Bp Premier over the years. However, if you’re upgrading to Saffron from an older version, some of these improvements could impact your Practice in ways that you may not have anticipated.

Avoid any surprises when you upgrade by checking out our Bp Premier upgrade guides. Covering all versions of Bp Premier back to Summit, our upgrade guides will step you through all major changes in Bp Premier up to, and including, Saffron.

Each version of Bp Premier has its own unique, tailored upgrade guide, to ensure you’re only getting the information that’s relevant to your Practice.

Changes to Bp Premier are broken down into four categories:

  • Workflows changes: Major workflow changes that, in many cases, must be incorporated, or at least considered, once using a new version.
  • Watch-outs for staff: Not necessarily a change of workflow but things that might throw staff off, such as warnings or new prompts that should be addressed in staff education.
  • Quick wins: New features or updates that require little change management to incorporate – some helpful bonuses.
  • Long term benefits: New features or updates that offer significant strategic or procedural benefit, but would likely require planned changed process.

Further resources are also provided for each new feature where possible. These include links to relevant quick reference guides, masterclass videos, and Knowledge Base articles, ensuring you have everything you need to get up to speed with what’s new in Bp Premier, regardless of which version you’re updating from.

To ensure a smooth upgrade, you can also check out our upgrade checklist, which provides important information about the upgrade process, including system requirements, and steps to follow before, during, and after the upgrade. A list of all permissions, user preferences and configuration settings added since Summit is also included.

A list of links, from our upgrade checklist through to upgrade guides for each version of Bp Premier are provided below. These links provide you with a downloadable PDF for easy reference.

Upgrade Checklist

Upgrade from:

Summit to Saffron

Lava to Saffron

Lava SP1 to Saffron

Lava SP3 to Saffron

Indigo to Saffron

Indigo SP1 to Saffron

Indigo SP2 to Saffron

Jade to Saffron

Jade SP1 to Saffron

Jade SP2 to Saffron

Jade SP3 to Saffron

Jade SP4 to Saffron

Authored by:

Jen Stewart Avatar

Jennifer Stewart
Technical Writer at Best Practice Software

ScriptCheckSA – Real Time Prescription Monitoring Coming March 2021

blog image scriptchecksa

If you were following our blog in the earlier months of 2020, you may recall an article we published on SafeScript, the Victorian government’s real time prescription monitoring solution. The South Australian government has now followed suit with the implementation of ScriptCheckSA, scheduled to be implemented in late March 2021.

ScriptCheckSA is South Australia’s real time prescription monitoring computer system and provides prescribers and pharmacists with real-time information about a patient’s use of monitored and controlled drugs, which is an invaluable resource if they are considering prescribing or dispensing these drugs. Having access to this kind of information ultimately leads to safer clinical decisions.

Prescription drug dependence, misuse and diversion are an increasing concern in Australia. A real time monitoring system such as ScriptCheckSA helps to alleviate misuse, while still ensuring that patients who genuinely require access to these medications can still obtain them.

How Will ScriptCheckSA Impact Prescribers?

ScriptCheckSA is not intended to prevent doctors or pharmacists from prescribing or dispensing monitored or controlled drugs – whether it is appropriate to prescribe a particular medication remains the clinical decision of the treating prescriber or pharmacist.

For our South Australian Practices, the implementation of ScriptCheckSA will allow you to safely prescribe and dispense high-risk medication, and transmit that information in real time to a centralised database, which can then be accessed by other doctors and pharmacists in subsequent consultations. This provides access to valuable information for prescribers and dispensers to facilitate the early identification, treatment and support for patients who may be starting to show signs of drug dependence.

What Can You Do To Prepare Now?

In preparation for ScriptCheckSA, a legislative change was made to the Controlled Substances (Poisons) Regulations 2011, including mandatory Drugs of Dependency reporting to the Department of Health SA from 1st November 2020. You can read more about this here

If your Patient Management System has integration with a Prescription Exchange service and you have this enabled the reporting will be done automatically.

For Bp Premier Practices:

  • Ensure that you upgrade to Bp Premier Saffron edition when it is released.
  • Ensure that your Practice has activated either eRx or Medisecure as a prescription exchange service. For more information on this please refer to our Knowledge Base, which can be accessed in Bp Premier by selecting Help > Online, and searching for either eRx or Medisecure.
  • View our Real-Time Prescription Monitoring setup guide available on our Knowledge Base, which can be accessed in Bp Premier by selecting Help > Online, and searching for real time prescription monitoring.

For Bp VIP.net Practices:

  • Ensure that you are using the latest release of Bp VIP.net.
  • Ensure the eRx prescription exchange service is activated. For more information on this, please refer to our Knowledge Base by selecting Help > Online from within Bp VIP.net.

Where Can You Find More Information?

A list of frequently asked questions is available on the SAHealth website here. If you have a specific enquiry pertaining to the rollout and implementation of ScriptCheckSA, get in contact here.

Videos: Active Ingredient Prescribing for Doctors and Patients

Active Ingredient Prescribing for Doctors and Patients

Prescribing medication by its active ingredient will become mandatory from February 2021. This change is part of the government’s 2018-2019 Electronic Prescribing Budget initiative that was legislated in 2019 under the National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment (Active Ingredient Prescribing) Regulations 2019. The aim is to improve patient understanding of the medications they take in addition to promoting the uptake of generic and biosimilar medicines to support a long term viable and sustainable market for these medications in Australia. Watch the videos below to better understand Active Ingredient Prescribing for Doctors and patients.

Active Ingredient Prescribing for Doctors

Active Ingredient Prescribing for Patients

SQL Server Express and You – Planning a Smooth Transition to Full SQL

SQL and You Blog Image

Recently, our Support team received a number of calls relating to an issue with Bp Premier’s SQL Server Express component, which can result in a very large, unexpected expense for Practices. As such, we felt it was important to flag this scenario with our customers.

Experiencing either performance issues, warning messages about low diskspace or a notification from Microsoft about the need to upgrade their SQL Server Express licence, several Practices contacted our Support team to seek an explanation and guidance on how to resolve the issue. Upon further investigation, we found that some Practices have outgrown their free SQL Server Express licence that comes packaged with your Bp Premier installation, requiring an upgrade to Microsoft’s SQL Server Standard Edition or even their Enterprise edition. Depending on the Practice’s size and licensing requirements, this can be anywhere from $4,000 to $14,000.

To find out how you can reduce the risk of being stuck with a large, unexpected and unwelcome bill – read on.

SQL Server Express edition, included with your Bp Premier installation, has a limit of 10GB of storage for a single database. For Practices in this situation, an upgrade to SQL Standard edition will allow for your patient database to exceed the 10GB limit, and allow for the the use of 4 sockets / 24 cores from 1 socket / 4 cores and an increased Buffer Pool Memory from 1410MB to 128GB.  In simple terms, SQL Standard edition will allow you to utilise far more of your server’s processing power.

However, upgrading from SQL Server Express is not as simple as flicking a switch, there are considerations you will need to make to ensure you are prepared for a smooth transition.

Given the costs involved with the move to SQL Server Standard Edition (or “Full SQL), a proper succession plan is vital to the smooth operation and transition of your systems.  The key part of this is to know your current limitations and track your Practice’s growth against these to identify your target time frame.

The key metrics to be aware of that effect Bp Premier when used with SQL Express are:

  • 1GB maximum memory used by the SQL Server Database Engine
  • The maximum size of each relational database is 10GB (this refers to the BPSPatients database)
  • The limit on the buffer cache for a single SQL instance is 1MB of RAM
  • The relational database engine is restricted to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores

Please note these limitations are governed by Microsoft for this free edition of SQL Server.  As this version suits the needs of a vast majority of sites Best Practice chooses to ship and deploy this for your Practice to assist in the reduction of costs.

The following actions will help you determine if you have a need to upgrade to “Full SQL”:

Monitoring and tracking of performance:

You may want to speak with your IT regarding monitoring your Express instance during your busy periods, to track your performance.

Database size:

By monitoring your back-up sizes for the “BPSPatients” file, you can plot out your Practice’s growth over a period of time and work out an average growth rate, as well as when you would expect to hit your limitations.

When planning for an upgrade to “Full SQL” due to file size growth, you should ensure that you allow enough time before you reach the file size restriction to avoid any downtime for your Practice. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to upgrade with at least 20% of your file size restriction remaining.  It would be recommended to seek advice on costs for “Full SQL” and allow for this in your budget so that funds may be available should you reach this limitation.

Should you need to upgrade your SQL Server version or edition, you can refer to the relevant online knowledge base article titled Upgrade SQL Server. For more information on Microsoft’s SQL Server pricing, visit their product page.

Authored by:

sql server express article scott everist avatar

Scott Everist
Support Leader at Best Practice Software

Active Areas of Implementation for ePrescribing

ADHA Active Implementation Areas ePrescribing

UPDATE: Please note as of January 2020, all Practices can begin using ePrescribing. ePrescribing has been turned on by default with our latest release, Saffron.

In partnership with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), Best Practice Software has been gradually rolling out Active Areas of Implementation for ePrescribing since August.

The table below provides a comprehensive list of all suburbs that have been deemed Active Implementation Areas for ePrescribing by the ADHA, as of 15 October.

This means that Practices within these areas are able to download the ePrescribing Utility File from our download page  and begin using eScripts within your Practice.

Active Areas of Implementation for ePrescribing

ion Region Definition of Active Geography Population
 Victoria n/a  All of Victoria  6,460,675 
Australian Capital Territory n/a  All of ACT  420,960 
New South Wales Armidale  The Armidale Regional Local Government Area  29,059
Newcastle  The suburb of Mayfield in Northern Newcastle  9,314
South Coast

The suburbs of: Bomaderry, North Nowra, Nowra, South Nowra, Terara and West Nowra. The suburb of Moss Vale & The Municipality of Kiama. 

 Sydney The LGAs of: Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West,
Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Woollahra.
 Queensland Central Highlands The Central Highlands Regional Local Government Area  29,650
 Brisbane  The suburbs of Camp Hill and Inala  31,669
 Bundaberg  The suburb of Bargara  7,485
Central Highlands The Central Highlands Regional Local Government Area 29,650
Brisbane The suburbs of Camp Hill and Inala 31,669
Bundaberg The suburb of Bargara 7,485
Townsille The suburb of Garbutt, Rowes Bay and Belgian Gardens 7,107
Hervey Bay and Marborough The postcodes of 4655, 4650, 4662 and 4659 79,355
 Townsville The suburbs of Garbutt, Rowes Bay and Belgian Gardens  7,107
South Australia  N/A  All of South Australia  73,836
Western Australia Metro Perth  The suburbs of Port Kennedy and Woodlands  17,922
Country WA The Kalgoorlie/Boulder Local Government Area and the Shire of Denmark  35,904
 Tasmania  Northern Tasmania The Central Coast,
Launceston and Devonport Local Government Areas
Northern Territory Northern NT Palmerston City  33,695

Getting Started with ePrescribing in Your Practice

Getting Started with ePrescribing blog image

Getting started with ePrescribing in your Practice is an exciting prospect – but there are a few things you need to know.

With the Communities of Interest initiative changing into Active Implementation Areas and extending to General Practices and pharmacies across all of Victoria and the ACT, and continuing to extend across our other states and territories, you might be poised and ready to take advantage of Electronic Prescribing.

Firstly, you need to ensure your Practice is in an Active Implementation Area. This ensures that you have the right support throughout your journey, and that your Patients have a participating Pharmacy near them so that they can have their eScript dispensed.  A list of current Active Implementation Areas can be found here.

Secondly, at this stage, the Electronic Prescribing functionality (which is only available in the Jade SP3 and Jade SP4 versions of Bp Premier) is turned off by default. You’ll need to download a utility to switch it on and that utility is currently available for download on our website for those in an Active Implementation Area. Visit us here and type in your postcode to find out if that’s your Practice. If your practice is not within an Active Implementation Area, or you aren’t sure, please get in touch with the Australian Digital Health Agency to register your interest in being included.

Lastly, in Jade SP3, the Prescription Exchange Service that is supported is eRx. You’ll need to be on the latest version and have that enabled in Bp Premier. Fear not those who use Medisecure, this is on our roadmap for release in the near future.   

So, you’re on Jade SP3, are in an Active Implementation Area, use eRx, have downloaded and run the utility and you’ve got eScripts configured as per the steps on our Knowledge Base (Help> Online > Search “Electronic Prescribing” for more info)… What next? Before getting started with ePrescribing, you’ll need some key pieces of information inputted for both Prescribers and Patients before you see the eScript button enabled. They are as follows;

  • Prescriber No.
  • AHPRA No.
  • HPI-I
  • HPI-O
  • Patient IHI (patient demographics)
  • Provider’s Title (user record)

You’ll also need to make sure you’ve selected your Patients preferred token method from within their demographic under “eScript Token,” shown below.

Getting Started with ePrescribing

We’ve got some comprehensive documentation on the set up and use of Electronic Prescribing, as well as multimedia clips and frequently asked questions on eScripts, available to you right now on the Jade SP3 Knowledge Base, which you can access from with Bp Premier’s Help menu.

With Electronic Prescribing continuing to evolve, and exciting developments on the horizon, like the Active Script List, the team at Best Practice are committed to helping you with your Electronic Prescribing journey every step of the way.

Active Ingredient Prescribing: What Does It Mean For You?

Active Ingredient Prescribing Blog Image

Prescribing medication by its active ingredient will become mandatory from February 2021. This change is part of the government’s 2018-2019 Electronic Prescribing Budget initiative that was legislated in 2019 under the National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment (Active Ingredient Prescribing) Regulations 2019. The aim of this regulation is to improve patient understanding of the medications they take in addition to promoting the uptake of generic and biosimilar medicines that would support a long term viable and sustainable market for these medications in Australia.

The regulation mandates the inclusion of the active ingredients on all PBS and RPBS prescriptions with the exception of:

  • Handwritten prescriptions
  • Paper-based medication charts in residential aged care settings
  • Medications with four or more active ingredients
  • Vaccines
  • Custom preparations and prescriptions generated through a free text function within prescribing software
  • Over the counter items
  • Non-medicinal items such as dressings and food supplements
  • Medications determined by the Secretary for practicality and safety reasons

Brand names can be included in the prescription if it is considered to be clinically necessary by the prescriber; however, the active ingredient must be listed first as per the regulation. Furthermore, software is prohibited from automatically including the brand name by default. It is therefore up to the prescriber to include the brand name on the prescription.

Why is this change being implemented?

There are numerous benefits to prescribing by active ingredient rather than brand name. First, generic prescribing enables patients to identify the pharmaceutically active ingredient (the international nonproprietary name) of their drug and thereby have a better understanding about the medications they take.

Second, it will reduce the risk of patients accidentally taking the same medication as a result of a prescribing or dispensing error due to being unaware that the brand name is not a unique identifier of their medication.

Third, it will allow the dispensation of any suitable equivalent generic should their brand of medication not be available at the pharmacy and subsequently reduce delays in supplying medication to the patient.

It is envisaged this change will increase the uptake of generic and biosimilar products which would reduce the out-of-pocket cost to the patient and the PBS.

How might this change the way I prescribe medications?

From a prescriber’s perspective, there are some changes in our workflow. When prescribing a new medication, we can still search by brand name or the active ingredient.

Prescribing a new medication by brand name

If we wish the patient to have a specific brand, then we have to check the “Print brand name on scripts” check-box and un-check the “Allow brand substitution” check box. This will convey to the pharmacist that the brand name on the script is what should be dispensed and brand substitution is not permitted.

Prescribing a new medication by active ingredient name

If we are satisfied that there is no clinical need for the patient to be on a particular brand of medication then we can search and select the drug by the active ingredient name. The options to “Print brand name on scripts” and “Allow brand substitution” will not be selectable as it is superfluous information since we have chosen to prescribe a generic medication.

Providing a prescription for a patient’s existing medication by brand

During the roll out of the software update for active ingredient prescribing, if a patient’s medication has previously been declared as not allowing brand substitution, then it will be set to “Print brand name on scripts”. This is because a prescriber has previously decided and recorded that the patient must be on the recorded brand of medication. In such cases the brand name will be printed on the script and the workflow for the doctor will not change.

However, if “Allow Brand Substitution” is checked (meaning that a generic brand can be dispensed), then the “Print brand name on scripts” will not be flagged. This is because, it has not previously been declared that the patient must be on that brand of medication. As per the regulation, software vendors cannot default to printing brand name on scripts in such cases. This may potentially become an issue to doctors who have, for example, previously prescribed “Micardis”, but have declared that brand substitution is permitted. In these cases, the brand “Micardis” will not be printed on the script and therefore the patient will be dispensed a generic Telmisartan rather than Micardis.

Providing a prescription for a patient’s existing medication by active ingredient

This scenario should not change the workflow of the doctor as the active ingredient will be printed.

How might this change affect my patients?

It is very important that we have a discussion with our patients regarding the upcoming changes and how it can affect their medications. This is especially if they are taking brand medications and we wish them to continue to do so.

Below are some examples of a typical prescription showing branded medication, and the same prescription showing only the active ingredient.

Active Ingredient Prescribing Sample Prescription

Authored by:

Dr Fabrina Avatar

Dr Fabrina Hossain
Clinical Advisor at Best Practice Software


To keep up to date with Active Ingredient Prescribing, and to be notified when further information and training materials are available, please sign up to our Educate Newsletter.

Building Upon Bp Premier with Development Services

Development Services Blog Image

Before prescribing software became commonplace, general practitioners would spend much of their consultation writing out patients’ prescriptions on paper – but the thought of a GP doing this for all their consultations now is a distant memory. Prescribing software like Bp Premier enables doctors to create prescriptions with just a few clicks and take advantage of features like automatic checking for drug interactions.

Workflows such as prescribing, requesting and reviewing pathology investigations for patients, and sending appointment reminders are universal to medical Practices, so they are well-supported in off-the-shelf software like Bp Premier. Our software enables Practices to report on their doctors’ billings so that they can be paid appropriately, and view various statistics useful for running a Practice.

But many Practices have unique requirements for workflows or data extraction that cannot be catered for in off-the-shelf software. For example, producing an extract of client information for a specialised piece of third-party software your Practice uses, reporting in a specific format to a third party other than Medicare (for example, a private contract), or exporting data to a business intelligence package for your Practice. For Practices handling these steps manually via data entry, spreadsheets or even paper, time spent on this may quickly add up.

Medical Practices without an in-house IT team (or even those with an in-house team) may require a Bp Premier expert to assist with custom workflows or data requirements in a more automated fashion. Best Practice Software’s Development Services team is available to build custom reports, integrations or software addons for your Practice, to help you really get the most out of Bp Premier. The team has many years’ experience and intimate knowledge of Bp Premier, including how the product supports your business every day. They are best placed to advise you on how to meet any custom requirements your Practice may have.

This team draws on their knowledge and expertise to develop queries, templates and reporting functionality to enhance the application while still utilising its key functions within your clinic. Our business analysis and software development expertise will allow us to manage your project from inception through to completion, and our services are competitively priced. We can reduce double handling of data, additional data entry and other points of friction within your Practice’s specialised processes through customised reports and software to meet your Practice’s needs.

How Our Development Services Team Can Assist

For Practices without specialised database administration resources to manage their Bp Premier server, we can also provide assistance with proactive performance optimisation and regular maintenance to keep your Bp Premier database running smoothly and efficiently. We can also assist Practices when converting from another system to ours, when Practices merge and require one database, or if a Practice wishes to extract a subset of data into another Bp Premier instance. These are all part of our Premium Conversions service.
Our Development Services team has successfully partnered with Practices on:

  • Custom integrations to retrieve data from, and store data in, third party systems, removing manual work required by the Practice to update these systems
  • Custom reports and data extractions for Practices with various specialties who need to track patients with certain conditions and procedures
  • Assisting Practices’ IT teams with migration of their databases to a new hosting provider
  • Assisting multi-site Practices who have sold one of their sites to another provider with extracting data specific to that site to be provided to the buyer
  • Regular maintenance on a Practice’s database to boost performance

Depending on what your Practice requires, our services can be quoted at an hourly rate, or a fixed price for your project. If your Practice is looking for a way to enhance its processes, data analysis, clinic templates or reporting, speak to our team today – you can contact us at developmentservices@bpsoftware.net.

Authored by:

Thomas Clarke

Thomas Clarke
Project Manager for Innovation and Development at Best Practice Software