What is Canberra Script
Canberra Script is a new online, real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) system being implemented in the ACT to reduce harm and preventable deaths in the community by supporting the safe and effective use of monitored medicines.
Each Australian jurisdiction will have their own local version of the national RTPM system with core features and functionality to enable national consistency. Canberra Script is intended to support clinical decision-making and ensure medicines are used safely and effectively by enabling health practitioners to better identify and manage patients who may be at risk of harm or dependency.
It is designed to detect people who are at risk of harm from certain medicines. The increasing harm from certain high-risk prescription medicines such as opioids and benzodiazepines is a public health concern from a safety and efficacy perspective. Patients cannot opt out of having their information collected in Canberra Script.
You can access the Canberra Script website at https://www.canberrascript.act.gov.au.
Canberra Script replaces previous systems
Canberra Script replaces the Drugs and Poisons Information System (DAPIS) Online Remote Access (DORA) RTPM system for health practitioners launched by the ACT Government in 2019.
Canberra Script has enhanced features and functionality for health practitioners over ACT DORA including:
- information about some Schedule 4 (prescription only) medicines (in addition to Schedule 8 (controlled) medicines
- information about prescribing events from medical practices (in addition to dispensing events from pharmacies)
- real time notifications to prescribers and pharmacists via integrated practice software that appear when prescribing or dispensing a monitored medicine to a person
- real time alerts in the Canberra Script portal that are triggered where the patient’s treatment signals a risk of harm to them, or the prescription is not authorised
- a secure and streamlined self-registration process for prescribers and pharmacists, and
- the ability to apply for CHO approval to prescribe controlled medicines directly via Canberra Script.
What is the purpose of Canberra Script?
Canberra Script is intended to support clinical decision-making and ensure medicines are used safely and effectively by enabling health practitioners to better identify and manage patients who may be at risk of harm or dependency.
The purpose of Canberra Script is to reduce harm and preventable deaths in the ACT community by supporting the safe and effective use of monitored medicines.
ACT Health’s vision for Canberra Script is that prescribers and pharmacists use Canberra Script to provide more safe and effective care for ACT consumers.
When to use Canberra Script
A prescriber or pharmacist will use Canberra Script to look up information for any ACT patient when prescribing or dispensing monitored medicines. ACT Health strongly encourages all health practitioners who prescribe or dispense monitored medicines to use Canberra Script as part of their clinical practice to support them provide more safe and effective care for their patients.
Canberra Script is not intended to disadvantage patients where there is a clinical need for a medicine and where a prescriber is authorised to prescribe a medicine for a person. Abruptly stopping treatment in patients who have been taking high-risk medicines over a long period is contrary to patient safety.
Taking a patient-centred approach and focusing on harm minimisation, safety and efficacy of medicines use can help frame discussions with patients in a non-confronting way. When having conversations with consumers about their medicines, it is important to use non-stigmatising terms and avoid using language such as ‘misuse’ and ‘abuse’ and instead use terms such as ‘safe’ and ‘effective use’ and ‘reducing harm’.