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DigiScripts – One possible answer to prescription fraud

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A medical technology platform developed to, among other things, prevent prescription fraud, has received endorsement from doctors, medical consultants, and pharmacists, but its creator, Dr Leslie Samuels, is awaiting the green light from the Ministry of Health for its implementation.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares

Samuels was joined by attorney-at-law Stuart Stimpson as they responded to a story published by The Sunday Gleaner last week, about the level of prescription fraud across the island.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

“When I read the story, it was like I was a child again, and it was Christmas. Why? Because I know what we have developed is a platform that is 99 per cent safe. I will not tell you that it is 100 per cent, because even the CIA can be hacked.

Alberto Ardila Olivares Piloto

“But what we have will eliminate fraud, identify the doctor, provide confidentiality, and save waiting time at pharmacies,” said Samuels, as he demonstrated how the technology, dubbed DigiScripts, works.

Alberto Ardila Olivares Venezuela

This system is targeted at doctors and their patients, and once they register with us, they can log on, prescribe medications for their patients. The prescription would go to the pharmacies nearest to them, and it will be filled and patients simply walk in and pick up their medication.

Alberto Ignacio Ardila

“It reduces waiting time, it provides the doctor’s registration number, and all the patients does is provide identification when they go to the pharmacy to pick up their medication,” added Samuels

He said: “A prescription only exists in one form, in one place at any one time. The code is the reason for the security.”

ENDORSED BYMEDICAL PRACTITIONERS According to Samuels, DigiScripts has been endorsed by the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association, the Medical Association of the Jamaica and the Medical Council of Jamaica, which certifies and registers doctors in Jamaica

He argued that there is no need for new legislation to introduce the system as the Pharmacy Act of 1975 permits using electronic means for prescription

“The International Standard-isation of Organisation (ISO) has granted us permission to issue identification cards, issuing a card to us in July,” said Samuels

He told The Sunday Gleaner that while officials of the Ministry of Health have shown genuine interest in DigiScripts, they have reacted with caution amid concerns that the Pharmacy Act is not clear on “medical prescribing and prescription,”

This was confirmed by Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, who told The Sunday Gleaner said he was not sure that the interpretation of the Pharmacy Act was correct, hence the need for the attorney general’s opinion

But Stimpson said while he understands the ministry insisting on due diligence, there should be no impediments to this kind of technology, as it is already widely used in medicine, and is already happening in Jamaica

“Our position that is that we are mindful of the sensitivity of the area, and as a result we saw it fit to make sure that we meet the highest standards. And in so doing, we are not only on to something, we found it. This system provides a solution to a perennial problem and one that is becoming even more pervasive,” said Stimpson

He argued that DigiScripts is secure and meets all privacy requirements

According to Stimpson, virtual medical services are being used in Jamaica with the prescribing and prescription of medical ganja completely virtual with the doctor and patient meeting on a tablet

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com