Monday, December 14, 2009

Changes Needed to PBS prescription forms

PBS prescription formToday I went to the chemist to have a prescription filled. The Pharmacist told me they could not do so as I had presented only the duplicate copy of the prescription. They told me this was a common problem with many customers only bringing in half the form. The PBS prescription forms are supplied by Medicare Australia, and there appear to me to be several flaws in the design of the form. This is not simply an inconvenience as the result is that the patient does not get required medicine, thus placing their health at risk.

What I took to be two separate prescriptions joined by perforations are in fact an original and a duplicate. Unfortunately this is not made clear on the form. There is a section of the form marked with a light cross hatching pattern which faintly spells out "Pharmacists patent COPY" sideways. Apart from being almost illegible, the original and duplicate are in the wrong order. The copy is o the left, when it should be on the right, as English is written from left to right, an original should come first. Also if old fashioned carbon paper was used, the copy would be underneath and therefore second in a pile of papers).

Medicare needs to redesign this form to make it usable. An interim workaround would be to instruct doctors (and their software suppliers) to print an appropriate message on the form.

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