FredIT now runs the show but Medisecure is not quite out of the game just yet.
At 9pm on Wednesday, eRx became the monopoly for Australia’s ePrescription services. But Medisecure is not yet completely out of the game.
Although eRx has become the sole provider of e-prescribing services nationally, Medisecure is still contracted by the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) to provide “selective prescription exchange technology services to support eRx”.
Mark Bouw, chief executive of Medisecure, said they were currently “filling a gap” to ensure a smooth transition.
“During the transition period there’s a lot going on,” he said.
“The Department has is made it pretty clear that there’s some ongoing needs and from a technology perspective, we’re able to meet that requirement to support eRx as the sole provider of e-prescribing services.”
Mr Bouw said that Medisecure was a possible redundancy for ePrescribing in Australia but that it’s not technically easy for different platform to seamlessly step up and replace services.
“Our position as a business is quite clear,” he said.
“The redundancy opportunity in the market is not something that can be just switched on. For example, look what happened with Optus last week.”
Mr Bouw said that redundancy planning for national ePrescribing “is not our decision to make” but that Medisecure was “here to help if that’s ever needed”.
The FredIT solution, eRx, was selected in May to be the sole provider for national electronic prescription services. The decision effectively abolished the two-vendor system which had been running for nearly a decade, since DOHAC incentivised both eRx and Medisecure to create ePrescribing platforms.
Awarding the tender to only one vendor raised concerns about a lack of redundancy for Australian’s eScript services and got a brief glance by the ACCC.
FredIT is owned by Telstra Health and Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The Guild is a powerful lobby group within the Australian health sector. DoHAC infuriated the Pharmacy Guild earlier this year by implementing 60-day dispensing ofprescriptions.
Mr Bouw said that despite the commercial disapointment of not being awarded the tender, Medisecure and DoHAC have had “a very amicable” working relationship during the transition period.
“It’s been a good, professional dialogue,” he said.
“All parties in the Department Health and Aged Care and Medisecure have been committed to a philosophy of ensuring that Australian patients can maintain access to service, beyond a date, irrespective of Medisecure not providing that service.”
Mr Bouw said Medisecure’s core value of being patient-focused was the driver for a positive working relationship with DoHAC, in spite of the challenging business reality.
“Ensuring patients have secure and on demand access to their health data remains at the forefront of our vison and mission. The minute you move away from your core values, you’ve got to question what you’re doing,” he said
While Medisecure’s eScript services in Australia wrap up, the company’s global strategy is accelerating, Mr Bouw told Tech & Medicine.
“We’ve been very busy with offshore opportunities,” he said.
“There are large key markets globally. Even those that have prescription exchange services in place, they are often not as advanced from a technical or user experience perspective to what we offer.”
Mr Bouw confirmed that Medisecure would not be providing ePrescription services for private scripts adding that the DoHAC was very clear on having only one national provider of ePrescribing.
Medisecure’s cessation of Australian ePrescription services includes terminating a clinic’s ability to generate new e-scripts, cancel or delete scripts previously created by MediSecure.
General practices that have not connected to eRx will have to revert to paper scripts. DoHAC has urged all general practices to switch to eRx.