Saving lives with the launch of ScriptCheckSA

ScriptCheckSA is software that provides prescribers and pharmacists with a real-time history of the high-risk prescription drugs (monitored drugs) their patients have been prescribed and supplied.

The information available in ScriptCheckSA helps doctors and pharmacists make safer decisions about which medicines to prescribe or supply to their patients.

ScriptCheckSA does not tell a doctor or pharmacist what to do, or if a monitored drug should, or should not, be prescribed or supplied. The decision remains with them as they are best placed to determine the medicines that are the safest and best option for their patient’s health needs.

Why was ScriptCheckSA implemented?

Prescription drugs can provide relief from pain or the symptoms of anxiety, sleep disorders and more. However, some prescription medicines can cause dependence and can be harmful.

Prescription drug dependence, misuse and diversion are major public health concerns both in Australia and internationally. Every day in Australia, people die, present to emergency departments and are hospitalised because of harm from prescribed drugs.

Alerting prescribers and pharmacists to potential risks in real-time can help them make safer decisions before prescribing or dispensing a monitored drug, and potentially reduce the risk of death caused by preventable overdose.

All states and territories in Australia are implementing Real-Time Prescription Monitoring to help save lives and reduce harm in the community from prescribed drugs.

Which medicines are monitored by ScriptCheckSA?

Prescription drugs that cause the greatest harm to the South Australian community are monitored by ScriptCheckSA, including private and non-PBS prescriptions.

Monitored drugs include all Schedule 8 drugs (drugs of dependence) and Schedule 4 drugs that increase the risk of harm when co-prescribed with drugs of dependence, including:

  • All Schedule 4 drugs that are Benzodiazepines
  • All Schedule 4 drugs that contain Codeine
  • Gabapentin
  • Pregabalin
  • Quetiapine
  • Tramadol
  • Zolpidem
  • Zopiclone.

What information is recorded in ScriptCheckSA?

When a doctor writes a prescription or a pharmacist dispenses a drug, specific information is recorded. When it relates to a monitored drug, ScriptCheckSA collects this information automatically from the clinical software.

Historical records of dispensed drugs of dependence, and records from non-connected prescribing and dispensing software are kept by the Drugs of Dependence Unit.

No medical notes, information about other drugs or test results are available in ScriptCheckSA.

Who can access ScriptCheckSA?

Doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals who prescribe drugs (e.g. dentists, nurse practitioners) can access ScriptCheckSA if directly involved in your care and only for the purpose of deciding if it is safe to prescribe or supply a monitored drug.

Authorised Officers at the Drugs of Dependence Unit may also access ScriptCheckSA as part of their regulatory role in ensuring the safe supply of medicines in the community.

Does ScriptCheckSA stop me from getting my regular medicines?

No. ScriptCheckSA does NOT tell your doctor or pharmacist what to do or if a monitored drug should or should not be prescribed or supplied to you. This decision remains with them as they are best placed to determine whether the drugs prescribed remain the safest and best option for your health needs.

How are patient records kept secure in ScriptCheckSA?

The South Australian Government is committed to ensuring that patient information in ScriptCheckSA is kept secure at all times. ScriptCheckSA meets national data security standards for government IT systems.

Data transmitted between clinical software and ScriptCheckSA occurs through a secure, encrypted internet connection. The system’s security is regularly tested to ensure information in ScriptCheckSA remains protected at all times.

An important security feature of ScriptCheckSA is multi-factor authentication, which requires doctors and pharmacists to undergo multiple steps to verify their identify when loging in.

How is patient privacy protected?

Personal and health information is protected by law and can only be collected, used and disclosed for authorised purposes. The Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles require that personal information is stored securely; and that individuals are provided with clear information about what personal information is held about them and how they can access it or request that it be corrected where necessary.

A log is created each time a patient’s record is accessed by a health practitioner and this log is monitored by the Drugs of Dependence Unit.

Penalties may apply under SA law for unauthorised access, use or disclosure of information in ScriptCheckSA, and the matter may be referred to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for further investigation.

Patients concerned that their health information has been inappropriately handled by a health practitioner can contact the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner on 1800 232 007 or (08) 8226 8666.

Can patients opt-out of ScriptCheckSA?

No. SA law requires that monitored drug prescription and dispensing information be sent to ScriptCheckSA. This is necessary to provide doctors and pharmacists with information about their patient’s use of monitored drugs so that they can make safer decisions.

What is the difference between My Health Record and ScriptCheckSA?

My Health Record allows patients to choose what health information goes into their record and who can access it. Patients cannot opt-out of ScriptCheckSA.


Drugs of Dependence Unit