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 and Medimap practice management systems 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.

Currently the Ministry is also working with providers of hospital, specialist and community care IT systems to enable prescribers to issue electronic prescriptions for hospital discharge, outpatient, specialists, nurse prescribers (not in general practice), and midwife care.

NZePS uptake

Graph of practices activated as at 30 June 2020. The graph shows the number of activated practices rose rapidly in 2020, from just over 300 to around 800.

Graph showing the number of escripts issued, as at 30 June 2020. The number rose from around 450,000 at the start of 2020 to more than 1 million.

Graph showing the % of escripts scanned at pharmacy as at 30 June 2020. This shows a fairly steady rise over time, from around 10% at the start of 2016, to over 70% in 2020.

NZePS Practices Activated per DHB – June 2020

Graph showing the number and % of NZePS practices activated per DHB, for June 2020. The DHB with the highest % is Lakes, at 100%, and the lowest is Canterbury, at 42%.
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NZePS Pharmacies scanning per DHB – June 2020

Graph showing the number and % of NZePS pharmacies scanning per DHB, for June 2020. All but 1 DHB has more than 90% of pharmacies on board.
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NZePS Practices Activated per PHO – June 2020

Graph showing the number and % of NZePS practices activated per PHO, for June 2020. These vary from 0 to 100%, although a majority are above 80%.
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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 onlinehelpdesk@health.govt.nz

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 24 September 2020.  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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