New Zealand ePrescription Service

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About the NZ ePrescription Service

The NZ ePrescription Service (NZePS) provides a secure messaging channel for prescribing and dispensing systems to exchange prescription information electronically. It enables a prescription to be generated by the prescriber, transmitted to the NZePS health information exchange broker, and downloaded electronically at a community pharmacy.

The prescriber can note the reason for prescribing and make other comments at the time of prescribing. This will be sent as part of the prescription information passed electronically to the pharmacy. Prescribers can request a notification when a patient’s medication has not been dispensed, and pharmacists can send dispensing comments back to the prescriber.

Medtech, MyPractice, Indici, Profile for Windows  and Medimap, Elixir and Expect Maternity practice management systems as well as the Waikato District’s Clinical Workstation Outpatient Prescribing are integrated with NZePS. The Ministry is working with other primary PMS providers and residential care electronic charting services to enable their customers to access NZePS in the near future.

Expanding the NZ ePrescription Service

In August 2022, Cabinet agreed to changes to the NZePS to include controlled drug medicines and, for some controlled drug medicines, the amount of drug that can be on a single prescription will be increased when using the NZePS. These changes will eliminate the need for prescriptions for controlled drug medicines to be provided in hard copy, with a physical signature, to pharmacies when prescribed using the NZePS. It will reduce the number of times patients need to visit a prescriber for repeat prescriptions for medications for some chronic conditions, like ADHD.

To make these changes, the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977 and the Medicines Regulations 1984 will need to be amended. The Ministry of Health is currently working on this, and we expect the changes to come into effect late in 2022.

NZePS uptake

Graph of practices activated. This took a big jump after April 2020. There are now over 1000 general practices activated, and over 1400 all practices.

Graph showing the number of escripts issued. This is currently around 1.8 million.

Graph showing the % of escripts scanned at pharmacy. This is currently around 90%.

NZePS Practices Activated per DHB

Graph showing the number and % of NZePS practices activated per DHB. Most DHBs are above 90%, and all are at least 75%.
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NZePS Pharmacies Scanning per DHB

Graph showing the number and % of NZePS pharmacies scanning per DHB. Most DHBs are above 95% of pharmacies scanning, and all are at least 80%.
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NZePS Practices Activated per PHO

Graph showing the number and % of NZePS practices activated per PHO. Most PHOs are above 90% of practices activated. All are at least 60%.
Click image to enlarge

Benefits to patients

Over time, patients will generally benefit from improvements in patient safety and quality of care such as:

  • reduced risk of transcribing errors during dispensing
  • better communication between the prescriber and pharmacist, which will help reduce oral miscommunication and decrease the need for phone calls between them
  • ability to evaluate and address patient medicines adherence issues. With NZePS, the prescriber can choose to be notified when a patient’s medication has not been dispensed, which can help determine whether or not a patient’s treatment plan is working
  • improving the quality of patient medication history information, as the patient clinical record can be updated when medicines are dispensed.

Security of information

Information on the NZePS broker is transmitted to and from the NZePS broker by the secure private health network, Connected Health. The barcode on a paper prescription is a unique code. Electronic prescriptions and dispensing details are also encrypted when they are sent to and retrieved from the NZePS broker.

Frequently Asked Questions - Secure Messaging

Please note: This is a living FAQ document that we will add to and change over time so practices and pharmacies should check back for the latest updates on these Q&As. Any additions will be added, or changes made, at the beginning of each month.

If you need further information please email [email protected]

Extension of temporary prescription waivers during COVID-19

The Ministry of Health has introduced new rules to make it easier for you to provide electronic prescriptions to support virtual care. This is especially important during this COVID-19 epidemic when exchanging paper prescriptions between prescriber, patient and pharmacy is burdensome, challenging and unsafe.

Some of the rules apply to systems that are integrated to the New Zealand Electronic Prescription Service (NZePS). Others are temporary and will expire when the COVID-19 alert levels are lowered.

The temporary waiver for non-NZePS signature exempt prescriptions will now expire on 20 October 2022. This extension enables systems and settings that are working towards NZePS integration to complete this work.

ePrescriptions for Controlled Drugs

Due to COVID-19 authorised prescribers can issue Controlled Drug (CD) ePrescriptions as soon as the practice has completed the NZePS activation.

Letter to sector - Patient Choice of Pharmacy

A reminder for clinicians of the patient's right to choose their own pharmacy. 

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