Alberta Health Services (AHS) is introducing a more direct way to provide patient prescriptions to community pharmacies. Beginning July 25, 2023, AHS and AHS partner facilities using the Connect Care clinical information system will be able to send prescriptions directly to community pharmacies via an electronic fax process, without the need for a printed prescription.
The prescriptions will be electronically faxed directly from Connect Care to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. For security and safety, each prescription has an electronic signature linked to the unique username, password, and professional registration number of each prescriber (such as a physician’s College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta registration number).
An electronic signature from a secure, password-protected system such as Connect Care is acceptable and can take the place of a handwritten/wet signature. Consequently, these electronically signed, direct-faxed prescriptions meet the signature requirement of standard 6.7(j) of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians (SPPPT) and a handwritten signature is not required.
As with any prescription, regulated members have a responsibility under standard 6.6 of the SPPPT to be certain the prescription they receive is authentic. In order to assist regulated members who are uncertain about the authenticity of a prescription received through Connect Care, AHS has introduced an online, real-time prescription validation tool that may be used to verify the authenticity of a prescription.
The use of this validation tool is optional and is intended to supplement the methods that regulated members currently use, such as calling or faxing the prescriber when they have concerns about authenticity.
The AHS website provides examples outlining the security features of these prescriptions, including standard formatting, electronic prescriber signature, and the unique order number specific to each prescription that can be used with the online validation tool.
Please note that this new electronic fax functionality may not be used to transmit prescriptions for drugs classified as type 1 under the Tracked Prescription Program (TPP). These prescriptions require the use of a TPP secure prescription form.
For more information, including instructions for how to access and use the prescription validation tool, FAQs, and contact information, visit the AHS website above.