Real Time Prescription Monitoring

Western Australia currently operates a comprehensive prescription monitoring program that has been in place for many years. This collects all dispensing data relating to Schedule 8 medicines from community pharmacies. The data is made available to health practitioners via a telephone information service. The data is actively monitored by the Department of Health and action is taken in relation to any concerning patterns of supply.

  • During The Department of Health acknowledges that, while effective, the current system is constrained in timeliness and accessibility, by the technology used. The Department is committed to reform of the current monitoring program, through use of newer technology, to provide secure real-time access, at the point of prescribing, 24/7.

  • The Department of Health continues to maintain and improve the existing prescription monitoring program in place in Western Australia, until such time as RTPM is achieved. 

  • In April 2018, though the COAG Health Council, WA along with other States and Territories committed to:
progress national real time prescription monitoring as a federated model with jurisdictions committed to progressing development and adaptation of systems to connect to and interface with Commonwealth systems to achieve a national solution.”
Components of the National Real Time Prescription Monitoring system

The National Real Time Prescription Monitoring system will comprise:

  • National Data Exchange (NDE) -

Jurisdictional regulatory systems will feed in the NDE and provide the basis for transfer of various types of regulatory information, including different patient and prescribing alerts.

  • Electronic Prescription Exchanges –

Existing electronic prescription exchanges will be used to ensure real time capture of Schedule 8 medicine supply data.

  • Prescribing and dispensing systems –

Commercial systems in use by medical and pharmacy practices will send prescribing and dispensing data to the NDE via the electronic prescription exchanges.

Systems will be capable of receiving notifications and alerts in real-time from the NDE and jurisdictional regulatory systems.

Information available on the Real Time prescription Monitoring system
  • Prescribing information
  • Dispensing information
  • Regulatory authorisations and approvals
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Schedule 8 data
  • Schedule 4 reportable data – medicines that have been prescribed by regulation, for example benzodiazepines, tramadol, compound codeine products
Access to the Real Time prescription Monitoring system
  • Access for prescribers
  • Access for hospitals
  • Access for dispensers
Developing the Real Time prescription Monitoring system

Western Australia has engaged XVT to develop a suitable regulatory system for WA purposes based on the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) platform.  This is well into development and expected to replace the current MODDS database in Q3 / Q4 of 2019.

The NDE is understood to have been delivered to the Commonwealth in 2019 and integration with jurisdictional systems is awaited.

Stakeholder consultation

Between April and June 2019 the Department of Health ran a series of stakeholder workshops for prescribers, dispensers and consumers.

  • Workshop 1 – medicines to include in RTPM
  • Workshop 2 – alerts, notifications , and mandating use
  • Workshop 3 – training for users, education for consumers, evaluation and research

The workshops will be used to inform policy and regulation when implementing RTPM in Western Australia.

The link to the Summary of Outcomes Report for the Real Time Prescription Monitoring workshops can be found here RTPM Workshop Summary (Word 627KB)

Other related works in progress

Other current work in progress in Western Australia includes:

  • intergovernmental agreements on entry into the NDE
  • legislation changes to support entry into the NDE and information transfer via prescription exchanges
  • funding agreements
  • scoping for integration between the NDE and WA regulatory system
  • design projects for promotion and education to users and consumers.
National system

A national RTPM system is dependent on other States and Territories entering the NDE and the existence of suitable agreements on data sharing and privacy.  Entry of Western Australia into the NDE in the first instance will progress on the basis of the WA situation (WA data) rather than any exchange of data between jurisdictions. The timing of entry of Western Australia is not dependent on plans in other jurisdictions. 

Last reviewed: 20-08-2019
Produced by

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch

More information

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch
Mailing address: PO Box 8172, Perth Business Centre, WA 6849
Phone: 9222 6883