A new era in healthcare has arrived in Jamaica as doctors writing prescriptions will now be able to transmit same electronically.
However, this can only be done with the consent of the patient and adherence to the Data Protection Act to ensure sensitive information is protected.
The Ministry of Health & Wellness made the announcement Friday, advising that it had sought the advice of the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) on the matter. The AGC reportedly advised that based on Regulation 20 of the Pharmacy Regulations, the transmission of prescriptions for drugs through electronic means is permissible in Jamaica.
The ministry stressed that bearing in mind that medication data are a type of highly sensitive personal data, entities transmitting prescriptions electronically must ensure that the system meets the legal requirements of the Government of Jamaica’s Data Protection Act 2020 or be GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant concerning the end-to-end operations in order to safeguard patient data privacy and security.
“Further, government agencies should be able to audit and confirm the claims of privacy, data protection, cyber threats and encryption if applicable to the system. If there are already existing recommendations, they should be accepted,” the ministry added.
It said patient consent should be in writing and reflect agreement to be a part of any programme and for their data to be shared electronically with other medical professionals. These consent forms should be readily available for audit.
Additionally, the ministry said the freedom to choose the service should remain with the patient while partially fulfilled prescriptions should be available to dispense with the balance quantity by the same or other pharmacies of the patient’s choosing and which may or may not be a part of the network.
“The system should also be able to avoid dual dispensing of drugs given the availability of both physical and digital copies; and checks and balances in the system to avoid the same,” it said.
Meanwhile, the ministry said it will establish a small internal team to coordinate current and emergent issues to do with the electronic transmission of prescriptions.