​Health hands Fred IT AU$23m for Australia-wide prescription data-sharing exchange

​Fred IT will lead the new national system for real-time prescription monitoring.

The Department of Health has this week announced the signing of pharmaceutical-focused IT services firm Fred IT to stand up an Australia-wide data exchange system for real time prescription monitoring (RTPM).

The AU$23 million contract, valid until September 2021, will see Fred IT design, build, and deliver the software system for the National Data Exchange component of the national RTPM system, tying together Australian state and territory prescription monitoring systems.

"The national RTPM system will provide an instant alert to doctors and pharmacists, through their clinician software, if patients have previously been supplied with target drugs," the tender documentation detailed in June. "This information will assist in clinical decision-making."

Fred IT will be charged with delivering the capability to monitor the prescription dispensing events from all states and territories, with the aim to prevent cross-border "drug shopping" abuses.

The National Data Exchange component will allow regulators, doctors, and pharmacists, as well as other system users, to interface directly with the national RTPM system from their existing clinician software.

According to Fred IT, the new national system for real-time prescription monitoring is designed to reduce the impact of prescription medicine overdoses.

"The introduction of a national approach to real-time prescription monitoring will play a significant role in preventing prescription medication misuse and saving lives," the company wrote.

Fred IT developed Victoria's real-time prescription monitoring system, SafeScript.

The Victorian Department of Human Services contracted Fred IT in November to deliver the system that utilises real-time prescription data captured via the electronic transfer of prescriptions through eRx Script Exchange and MediSecure to monitor Schedule 8 medications and other high-risk medications.

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) -- the agency charged with overseeing the Commonwealth's troubled My Health Record and ensuring citizen information is secure -- also contracted Fred IT in July to lead a new medicines safety project to explore the impact of digital health records in improving patient medication safety.

The medicines safety project is one of 15 Digital Health Test Beds announced at the time by Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

The project is expected to investigate the impact of digital health systems in supporting patient safety and clinical decision-making as patients move between the care of their community pharmacy and hospitals.

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