From 1 November 2022 all prescriptions and dispensing records in NSW must bear the date of birth (DOB) of the patient. This fact sheet provides advice to software vendors on this new requirement.
In NSW the data elements for prescriptions and record-keeping requirements for dispensing are defined in the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (the Regulation) and in various instruments.
The DOB of a person is a common and important data element used for identification purposes. It helps to prevent prescribing and dispensing errors and improve the quality of information held in digital health systems like SafeScript NSW.
While prescription requirements have minor variances between states and territories, there is increasing commonality emerging, particularly as new initiatives (for example ePrescribing) are adopted.
 While DOB will be a required data element for all prescriptions, pharmacists will not be prevented from dispensing a prescription when it is not present. This is expected to simplify the introduction of these changes.
Many clinical and dispensing systems already have the capability to record a patient's DOB. The current requirement for conformant electronic prescriptions to include DOB NSW ePrescribing requirements as well as the requirement for the patient's DOB to be documented on prescriptions under other state and territory laws is expected to reduce the effort and complexity of developing functionality to support this regulatory change.
The tables below outline ways that the medical software industry can support their clients to incorporate these changes into their clinical practice.
No. Under the Regulation, the obligation to comply with requirements on issuing and dispensing prescriptions remain with health practitioners. Vendors will be expected to undertake a self-assessment and ensure that the necessary functionality is in place by 1 November 2022 to facilitate compliance by health practitioners to the new legal requirement.
DOB is already a mandatory data element for all conformant electronic prescriptions. NSW Health received feedback that it would be simplest for prescribers of handwritten prescriptions to have one rule for all prescriptions.
These changes affect prescriptions for all Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines that are issued and dispensed in NSW. This includes:
Where a prescription is presented which does not contain the patient DOB, the pharmacist will be required to make a record of the patient's DOB by asking the patient or their agent for the DOB. This will ensure that supply of medicine to patients is not interrupted, and ensure that the record provided to the Prescription Exchange Services includes this information