Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Pharmacy Guild Seems To Think They Are The Sole Driver Of E-Health. I Wonder Do They Know What It Means?

This appeared today. Note bold sentences.

Expanding pharmacists’ roles “common sense”: Guild

Empowering community pharmacists to provide more services will help ease waiting times experienced by patients looking to see a GP, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes.
Responding to issues raised in the National Health Performance Authority’s Healthy Communities report, which highlighted that up to 28 per cent of patients at Medicare Locals across Australia experienced “longer than acceptable” waiting times to see a GP, Kos Sclavos, Guild national president, said pharmacists could reduce doctors’ workload if they were allowed to broaden their scope of practice.
“Areas should be explored to expand the areas of pharmacy practice to reduce doctor access issues for patients,” he said.
“This is just common sense. We need national solutions that ensure all patients across Australia have equal access [to health care].
While pharmacy-based telehealth services have been recommended as a potential way of improving patient access to GP services, Mr Sclavos told Pharmacy News they were not viable, because doctors had failed to adopt electronic health programs and services.
“E-health at present, including telehealth will not bridge the gap [in patient access], because the medical profession is not embracing e-health.
“This is despite significant financial incentives being in place.”
Lots more here:
I have been sent a rebuttal to this view - sadly anonymous - but the sentiment is clear.
INTERCEPTED LETTER to President Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Dear Mr Sclavos
The entire Australian medical profession is stunned by your blatant accusation in the 7 March Pharmacy News that the "medical profession is not embracing e-health".  Even more stunned when one reads in the 1 March Pharmacy News that you account for the low uptake of the PCEHR as being due to doctor inaction.  To add insult to injury you also claim that a "stunning 3.5 million e-health prescription records per week as eScripts" has been achieved solely as a result of the work of the Pharmacy Guild and eRx.
It is to be hoped that you will reconsider your views and put the record straight.  Promoting blatant falsehoods is not conducive to promoting cooperation and positive working relationships between doctors and pharmacists.
You well know Mr Sclavos that the PCEHR uptake is not a function of doctor inaction but an outcome of NEHTA's monolithic system, simply not working and not providing any useful benefits.
You also know that the medical profession has widely embraced e-health over many decades, to the point that Australian medical practices are more computerised than in any other country in the world.
Finally, it will not be news to you that the stunning 3.5 million e-health prescription records being processed each week as e-scripts has been achieved  because medical practices have predominantly been using MediSecure to send their escripts across the net to the MediSecure ScriptVault and to a much lesser extent the eRx Script Exchange.
Your reluctance to acknowledge the commitment and involvement of doctors, medical practices and MediSecure in being the major contributors to the stunning achievement you so aptly describe of 3.5 million escripts per week being processed over the Internet leads one to ponder how much further advanced  we all would be without your help! 
Regards
eHealth advocates for all Australians
----- End Letter.
I have to say I do think the Pharmacy Guild has rather too many tickets on themselves both in importance and role in Health IT (who knows what anyone means by e-Health with any precision). Of course it is pretty clear MediSecure might have had a hand in assembling the response......nevertheless....
I guess I will be accused of being another e-Health denier - and worse a doctor  - but so be it!
I have to say the I did love this para.
“You well know Mr Sclavos that the PCEHR uptake is not a function of doctor inaction but an outcome of NEHTA's monolithic system, simply not working and not providing any useful benefits.”
Too true!. Let the discussion as to who has the correct perspective begin.
David.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

By any accounts it sure is a stunning achievement. I think everyone involved should make some time to acknowledge everyone else's efforts and pay credit where credit's due. Ahh, the power of positive thinking.

Paul Fitzgerald said...

The more things change, the more things stay the same. This divide between doctors and pharmacists has been around since Adam played fullback! I was a drug rep in the 80's and it was rampant then. Nice to know that some things never change! :-)

InformaticsMD said...

A better question to perhaps ask when riffs like this come up (variations on the "doctors are Luddites" there) is:

Who are the enablers of healthcare - doctors or pharmacists - and and who are the facilitators?

Anonymous said...

A resounding pat on the back for the Department is certainly in order. 1.3M scripts must be almost 25 percent of all scripts produced. This begs the question of How to make it 50 or 75 percent.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know that some things never change! Then the leadership should change. Its time they growed up. All the talk about cooperation and working together is just balloney and hot air unless the leadership of the Guild and the AMA promote it from the top down.

Anonymous said...

3/07/2013 09:46:00 PM said Nice to know that some things never change!

So the leadership should change. Its time they growed up. All the talk about cooperation and working together is just balloney and hot air unless the leadership of the Guild and the AMA promote it from the top down.

Anonymous said...

Teamworks not teamwork while the Guild holds the view that pharmacy should be the centre of the universe. Scalvos has been kicking his can down the road that like a one eyed Cyclops for as long as I can remember he says - Areas should be explored to expand the areas of pharmacy practice – .

He would make a lot more progress if he focussed on making pharmacies more efficient by using computers better and smarter to free up the pharmacists time to spend more quality face to face counselling time with their customers. Instead he beats the medical profession up for being obstructive with ehealth. Get real.

Keith said...

Anonymous 3/08/2013 07:14:00 AM said...

"A resounding pat on the back for the Department is certainly in order. 1.3M scripts must be almost 25 percent of all scripts produced. This begs the question of How to make it 50 or 75 percent."

But the article quotes 3.5M eScripts per week! Last time I checked there were roughly 220M scripts dispensed per year (10 per head of population). 3.5M per week represents about 80% of the total. That I can't believe. One of these numbers is just wrong. Does anyone have an explanation?

PS: I wonder how repeats are counted and whether that has anything to do with the disparity in numbers?

PPS: The pharmacists I've spoken to ignore the barcode, preferring to transcribe from the printed prescription as they have always done. They seemed to think that the "Claytons" eScripts that we currently have offered no benefit to them.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean Keith they can mind numbingly transcribe from the printed prescription faster than uploading by reading the barcode?

Anonymous said...

The Pharmacy News article of 1 March was penned by Kos Sclavos himself.

In the article he wrote "through the work of the Guild and eRx we now have achieved a stunning 3.5 million e-health prescription records per week as eScripts".

Perhaps he is living on another planet or is writing in a future tense when he has mastered control of planet earth. Read his article here -

http://www.pharmacynews.com.au/opinion/future-of-e-health-hinges-on-election-result

Anonymous said...

This is being tabled for discussion at our next Medicare Local Board meeting. We need to get our Member Practices more involved.

Anonymous said...

Does cooperation extend to having one prescription exchange instead of two?

Anonymous said...

It looks like Kos Sclavos's 3.5 M scripts is a big porkie.

Anonymous said...

If you believe what Keith says 3/08/2013 09:41:00 AM then Kos's claim of 3.5 M is quite impossible. Which raises an interesting question - Why is he so intent making such huge unsubstantiated claims which he knows are quite untrue?

Anonymous said...

Based on the Guild's comments about Supermarkets in today's Pharmacy News (Guild warns pollies on supermarket threat) I would suggest Mr Sclavos' best course of action is to try to tie escripts up in a gaudion knot with his doctor colleagues to block the supermarkets entering that space.

Anonymous said...

Two points, need help on the first one.

1. how does this all link to the PCEHR? and
2. who wants competition these days, let's keep it all in-house, under wraps so that we can dictate the agenda.... Competition is good it means that you get better products, services and support... smells like the PCEHR to me....Off!!!

Privacy Paul

Anonymous said...

I just noticed a tit bit in a fredhealth newsletter https://help.fredhealth.com.au/media/p/8360/download.aspx

It says: Did you know that every week in Australia, 3.5 million dispense events take place with the support of eRx Script Exchange? And that every week, GPs upload 500,000 new scripts to eRx?

That should clarify the 3.5 million figure that Sclavos referred to – not eprescriptions but dispense events – whatever that means!!.

All suggestions to aid interpretation welcomed.

Keith said...

"It says: Did you know that every week in Australia, 3.5 million dispense events take place with the support of eRx Script Exchange? And that every week, GPs upload 500,000 new scripts to eRx?"

Ah! 0.5M new scripts, but 3.5M "dispense events". It's reasonable that dispensing repeats would count as a "dispense event" but that would not account for a 7:1 ratio. I wonder if sending a dispense notification counts as a separate event. I think a Monday call to FRED IT's 1800 number is called for.

Anonymous said...

Another possible,accounting, factor here is that the figures may be based on individual prescription items, rather than complete, multi-item, prescriptions.

Anonymous said...

Originally eRx and the Guild made an incentive of 25 cents per escript available to pharmacists from the 5CPA. Then for some bizarre reason they cut it back to 15 cents. The end result was after paying the eRx its 15 cent transaction fee the pharmacists got nothing.

It seems to me the Guild got greedy and wanted to keep the 15 cents per script in its own coffers in effect cutting off its nose to spite its face.


Why can't we get paid 10 cents per escript as was originally intended?

Anonymous said...

10 cents X 220,000,000 scripts is 22 million dollars which equals 4,400 dollars per pharmacy.

If we were "paid 10 cents per escript as was originally intended" for every barcoded escript uploaded we would all be better off.

Anonymous said...

David, can you or your readers please try to explain why the Guild chose to keep the 22 million dollars (available under the 5th CPA) in its own bank instead of sharing it with its members?