Treatments and tests

Electronic prescriptions for medication

  • Electronic prescribing refers to the process by which a prescription is generated via SMS or email.
  • This is an alternative to issuing paper prescriptions.
  • If repeat prescriptions are ordered, the repeats will also be electronic.
  • If you prefer, you can continue to request a paper prescription.

If you agree to have medicine prescribed electronically, you will be able to access your medicines at a pharmacy with the use of a Token. This is similar to technology you may already be familiar with such as an electronic boarding pass for a flight or an online ticket to a sporting event or concert.

What is a Token?

The Token can either be a barcode or QR code.

The Token can be sent to you digitally via SMS or email, or a paper token can be given to you.

The Token will come with the following details:

  • your name or initials
  • some information about the medicine, (but no dosing instructions).

Note: A Token is not the same as a legal prescription, but is used by pharmacists to access the legal prescription.

How can I get a Token?

When you have a consultation with your doctor (whether in person or via telehealth), you can choose to receive a digital Token on your mobile via SMS or email or you can ask for a paper Token. The paper Token is not the same as a paper prescription.

Before your consultation has ended, make sure to confirm with your doctor that you have received the Token.

How do I use the Token to get prescription medication?

When you visit a pharmacy, the Token will be scanned by the pharmacist to get the prescription details.

Can I forward a copy of the Token?

Yes. Digital Tokens can only be sent to one mobile number or email address. However, you can forward the text message or email containing the Token to:

  • a family member or carer to take to the pharmacy to get the medication for you
  • a pharmacy to dispense the medication (instead of scanning the Token on your mobile).
What about repeat prescriptions?

If there are any repeat prescriptions left on the Token, the initial token can no longer be used, and a new Token will be issued by the pharmacy for the repeats.

Are electronic prescriptions secure?

The software systems used for electronic prescribing are secure, safe to use and protect your information.

Developers of electronic prescribing systems are required to attest that their software meets the requirements of Australia’s Digital Health Agency and those of the WA Department of Health.

The QR code or barcode holds an identifier which is a key used by the Prescription Delivery Service (PDS) to get the prescription details from the database. The identifier is meaningless unless scanned by the pharmacy with the required connections and authorised processes.

Where to get help

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information

Last reviewed: 18-06-2020

Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.