An e-scripting application which enables doctors to create a digital script and sign it with a password or PIN using their personal electronic signature, has been developed in South Africa to streamline the prescription process between doctors and pharmacists.

Developed by Intermedix SA and powered by CompuGroup Medical SA (CGM SA), the iCanScriptTM e-scripting platform makes use of Advanced Electronic Signature (AES) for doctors to be able to create a digital script and sign it with a password or PIN using their personal AES.

“The patient then selects an e-script-enabled pharmacy from the doctor’s application, to which the e-script is routed,” Intermedix SA’s Marius van der Westhuizen explains in a media release on the new platform.

“The pharmacist,” he continues, “prepares the prescription and the medication is ready for collection.  The doctor receives an electronic notification once the medicine has been dispensed to ensure knowledge of the patient’s medication compliance.” 

On the legitimacy of the platform, Intermedix SA referred to the following comment by Jackie Maimin, a practising pharmacist and the CEO of the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA): “A script belongs to the patient and only becomes the property of the pharmacist once the prescription has been dispensed in full. There is a lot of uncertainty around the validity of electronic and digital scripts. What I can say, is that in my opinion, iCanScriptTM fulfils the legal requirements for an electronic prescription as outlined in Regulation 33 of the General Regulations of The Medicines Act.” 

Doctors go through a fingerprinting process authenticated by the Department of Home Affairs* (see footnote.) before being issued with their personal AES certificate to use when digitally signing all their medical and clinical documents.

Among the benefits cited in the release are:

·         Doctors can be assured that patients receive the correct medication. In addition, access to detailed digital records will allow doctors to review historic prescriptions on a patient’s profile for quick review of compliance and re-issue of repeat prescriptions. 

·         Patient care is enhanced through the accuracy of digital prescriptions as pharmacists do not have to decipher what medication or strength was written on a prescription. Patients select a pharmacy of their choice for collection or delivery of their prescribed medication and the pharmacy prepares the script on receipt of the digital script. 

·         For the pharmacist, there is improved workflow efficiency as a result of the automated delivery of the e-script into the pharmacy practice management system.

*Footnote: The National Department of Health has gazetted the use of AES digital signed prescriptions as per Section 37 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act, 2002 (Act No 25 of 2002) and the proclamation appeared in the Government Gazette 41064 (No 859) Section 34 dated 25 August 2017 in terms of section 35 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act no 101 of 1965). The act can be accessed at   http://www.mccza.com/documents/959cb9e1Test.pdf

SOURCE: Media release prepared and distributed by Rose Hare Public Relations on behalf of Intermedix SA