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Electronic prescribing improves patient care

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

6 March 2014 Media Statement
Electronic prescribing improves patient care

Better links between GPs and pharmacists are making health services safer and more convenient for New Zealanders.

Health Minister Tony Ryall visited Totara Health Services in New Lynn today to see first-hand how medications can be prescribed and dispensed electronically.

“Electronic prescribing reduces the risk of mistakes that can be made in handwritten prescriptions, and makes it easier for GPs to see if patients have collected all or part of their scripts,” says Mr Ryall.

“I was particularly pleased to be able to see electronic prescribing in action at an integrated family health centre, which is an excellent example of primary and secondary health providers working together to deliver better services closer to home.”

Mr Ryall watched a prescription being dispensed at Health New Lynn 7 Day Pharmacy by pharmacist Peter Knox. Electronic prescribing allows GPs to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacists.
Patients are given a barcoded paper prescription to take to their chosen pharmacy, and the pharmacist simply scans the barcode to access the information, Mr Knox says. Once the script is filled an electronic message can go back to the GP’s computer to say the patient has picked up their medication.
Mr Knox says working from the same centre as GPs made it easier to share information, while electronic prescribing prevented errors and saved time.

“It’s very convenient for people to have so many health services in one spot, and spending less time on processing prescriptions means we have more time to spend with patients,” says Mr Knox.

Totara Health Services opened last year as an integrated family health centre, which offers patients a wide range of health services under one roof. Health services available at the centre include general practice, radiology, ophthalmology, physiotherapy, dentistry, cardiology and diabetes support.


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