Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Health
539. To ask the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many hospital groups are not availing of electronic prescribing for discharges; the reason in this regard, in view of the fact that there are benefits of electronic prescribing in particular during a pandemic; if electronic prescribing will be availed of by all public hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30198/20]
The majority of public hospitals in Ireland do not currently have electronic prescribing in place. The implementation of ePrescribing is a significant programme of work and will take time to embed in acute and primary care settings. To support access to prescriptions during the pandemic, a new service to facilitate the secure electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) between GPs and community pharmacy was deployed in response to Covid-19. Electronic transfer of prescriptions is just one aspect of the large programme of work involved in the full implementation of ePrescribing.
Rapid implementation of the ETP was only possible in the pandemic because:
- the majority of GP practices avail of four accredited practice systems which the HSE rapidly upgraded to support the ETP during the pandemic,
- underpinning regulations were developed by the Department of Health,
- every community pharmacy in the country had access to the secure Healthmail system that was used to underpin ETP.
This service has proven to be successful with approximately 50,000 scripts now being transferred electronically between GPs, community pharmacies every day. To build on this work, the HSE has established an ePharmacy Programme which will address the need for electronic prescribing (which in turn will support electronic discharge). A number of key specialist posts required to lead out on the ePharmacy Programme are in the process of being recruited by the HSE.