Prescription transmission through apps and online tools

March 23, 2022

Photos or scans of prescriptions submitted by the patient cannot be used to fill a prescription.

Websites and mobile applications, or apps, are a part of daily life and many pharmacies use web and app-based patient-facing tools. While these technologies can provide an effective source for communication and information, pharmacy teams are reminded that it is not permissible to prepare a prescription in advance of obtaining the original prescription. This means that images of prescriptions sent by patients via app or website cannot be used to fill a prescription; this also applies to images of prescriptions received via text or email, as well as patient-provided faxes or the patient reading the prescription over the phone.

Regulated members are required by Standard 6 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians to always determine that the prescription is current, authentic, complete, and appropriate before dispensing. As a result, pharmacy teams must only fill prescriptions received in acceptable formats.

If patients send photos or scans of prescriptions through web or app-based tools, pharmacy teams can check inventory to see if stock is available or confirm if a drug is covered by a third-party payer. However, the original prescription must be obtained before a pharmacist can conduct an assessment or before a regulated member can create a patient record, enter information into Netcare, or dispense the medication.

Processing and preparing a prescription before obtaining the original increases the risk of error and diversion, and of false, inaccurate, or duplicate records. Once the original prescription is received, pharmacists must confirm the patient’s identity and establish a professional relationship with the patient.

It is also important to remember that, prior to the use of any new technology to transmit prescription images or other patient information, or to offer virtual care, a privacy impact assessment must first be submitted to the OIPC for review and approval.

For further information on the transmission of prescriptions, refer to our Link article from February 3, 2021.


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