Document Type

Conference Proceeding


SRI Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Perth, Western Australia


Originally presented at the Proceedings of the 4th Australian eHealth Informatics and Security Conference, held from the 30 November – 2 December, 2015 at Edith Cowan University, Joondalup Campus, Perth, Western Australia.


One area of healthcare that has moved more quickly than others in adopting electronic transfer of information is prescribing in the primary care environment. Several Acts and Regulations have been repealed and amended at Commonwealth and State levels to enable this progress over the past decade, as medication provision is a strictly controlled area of healthcare. Further, numerous standards and specifications have been developed and adopted to support and safeguard the regulatory changes and facilitate the electronic transfer of prescriptions. However, the current model of electronic prescription transfer comes with a substantial price tag for ongoing use. With the Nation’s growing and aging population, the number of prescriptions will increase annually, and thus it is necessary to find more cost-effective alternatives with comparable security and privacy assurances. An obvious potential solution lies in using devices that have been a part of our daily lives for well over a decade - mobile smartphones. An investigation was conducted to determine whether or not such technology is capable of meeting legislative requirements for prescribing whilst providing a cost-effective alternative prescription transfer model. Using technology such as near field communication for transfer process together with existing encryption technique demonstrates this can meet the security requirements of data at rest. This investigation established that although the proposed alternative is a work in progress and not a flawless one, it indeed opens up opportunities to incorporate many useful features in addition to eliminating the associated ongoing costs while providing comparable privacy and security assurances.


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