Electronic NHS prescriptions are the cornerstone of a drive to put 100% of the service "online" in Scotland by the end of this year.
Over half of all NHS prescriptions – 7.72 million – are now sent electronically since the start of electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) in Scotland in January 2008.
ETP is now central to the electronic acute medication service (EAMS), one of the four core services in the community pharmacy contract in Scotland.
Feedback from GPs and community pharmacies has been positive, said Alison Strath, principal pharmaceutical officer for the Scottish government.
By 1 August this year, 58% of general practices and 43% of community pharmacies were EAMS-enabled, and the government expects 90% of general practices and 75% of community pharmacies to be enabled by September, with the remainder installing EAMS in October or November 2008.
Ms Strath said: "We had originally set ourselves a deadline for reaching 100% ETP by the end of September but the scale of the rollout for some of the large pharmacy systems has challenged that. Our view now is that by the end of the year we should have 100% done and dusted."
Response times for requesting electronic messages averaged two seconds. Pharmacists said the system is saving them time.