Online Prescription Monitoring

DORA is a secure prescription monitoring website that allows prescribers and pharmacists to access information about controlled medicines dispensed from pharmacies for ACT patients.

DORA is a secure prescription monitoring website that allows prescribers and pharmacists to access information about controlled medicines dispensed from pharmacies for ACT patients. DORA has been introduced in the ACT in an effort to reduce the growing harms in the community associated with pharmaceutical abuse and misuse.

A prescriber or pharmacist can look up information in DORA for any patient that presents to them. Information displayed will include patient details as well as their controlled medicine dispensing history and any ACT prescriber approvals that are in place for them.

DORA is an extension of the Drugs and Poisons Information System (DAPIS), which is used by the ACT Government Health Protection Service (HPS) as its prescription monitoring system.

Why use DORA?

Australia has a growing national problem with the misuse and abuse of pharmaceuticals. The number of harms including deaths from prescription medicines has increased and is now higher than illegal drugs.

DORA is intended to be a clinical support tool for prescribers and pharmacists, to enable them to better identify and manage patients who may be exhibiting signs of drug dependency or drug seeking behaviors, such as ‘doctor shopping’.

DORA is being introduced to improve the safety of ACT patients by providing prescribers and pharmacists with valuable information before they write or dispense a prescription for a controlled medicine.

DORA is not intended to disadvantage patients where there is a legitimate clinical need for a medicine and where a prescriber is authorised to prescribe a controlled medicine for a person.

For more information about DORA, please see the following fact sheets:

Privacy and security of patient records

A record in DORA is a health record and is protected by law under the Health Records (Access and Privacy) Act 1997. The Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008 outlines acceptable use and offences related to this information. Strict penalties apply for any person found to be inappropriately accessing or using DORA information.

The ACT Government is committed to ensuring the security of patient data within DORA. DORA has undergone rigorous security testing and complies with the ACT Government Protective Security Policy Framework and the ICT Security Policy.

Voluntary use of DORA

The use of DORA by health professionals is not mandatory. However, all eligible prescribers and pharmacists are urged to use DORA as a new part of their clinical practice, with the aim of minimising potential harms.

Whilst the use of DORA is not mandatory, prescribers are still required to seek Chief Health Officer (CHO) approval prior to prescribing a controlled medicine for continuing treatment or where treatment is to continue greater than two months, or where the patient is drug-dependent.

Information in DORA

DORA contains information about controlled medicines that have been dispensed for ACT patients.

Specifically, information will appear in DORA for any controlled medicines that have been dispensed from an ACT pharmacy, regardless of a person’s address.

DORA also displays any ACT prescriber CHO approvals that are in place for a patient.

DORA may also display cautionary prompts for health professionals for some patients. Prescribers and pharmacists should contact the HPS if they have any concerns regarding a patient’s approval or dispensing history.

Registering to use DORA

Any prescriber of controlled medicines or pharmacist may apply to access DORA to support ACT patient care. Prescribers include doctors, dentists and some nurse practitioners.

Prescribers and pharmacists can register for DORA via the DORA website using a device with a trusted PKI certificate* installed and appropriately configured (see Access to DORA below).

Applicants need to provide a range of verification documents to the HPS to complete their registration. This includes 100 points of ID and details of their AHPRA registration and unique Healthcare Provider Identifier-Individual (HPI-I) number.

For more information about how to register to use DORA, please see the DORA Registration User Guide.


Access to DORA

All pharmacists and prescribers are able to access DORA via the DORA website, using a device with a PKI certificate installed and appropriately configured*.

Please note some users with a PKI certificate may experience initial difficulties accessing the website due to configuration of the certificate on their device. Should you experience difficulties in accessing the site, please refer to the attached instructions to assist you with certificate set up. For further assistance, please contact the Health Protection Service for support on 02 5124 2908 or

Prescribers may also access DORA via a new electronic SmartForm for CHO approval applications. The SmartForm allows prescribers to apply to the ACT Health Protection Service for controlled medicine CHO approval online or directly via their practice management software.

The SmartForm includes a DORA link so that prescribers can easily look up details for their patient in DORA, as part of submitting their approval application.

*Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates

To access the DORA website, health professionals will need to use a device with a NASH PKI certificate installed. A NASH PKI certificate is used to secure the connection from DORA to the health professional’s computer in order to ensure the security of patient records.

DORA utilises the same NASH PKI certificate that the Department of Human Services uses for securing My Health Record. If a health professional can access My Health Record on their computer, then they can also access DORA.

For more information about NASH PKI certificates, including information about how to obtain a NASH PKI certificate, visit the Department of Human Services – Medicare website.

DORA health professional training and resources

ACT Health is developing a DORA eLearning course to assist prescribers and pharmacists in using DORA.

Real time reporting from pharmacies

Real time reporting refers to the process by which pharmacies report dispensing information to ACT Health so that it can be viewed in DORA in real time.

Real time prescription monitoring refers to the process or system used by health professionals to monitor prescriptions dispensed for a person, in order to assist their clinical decision making or identify potential harms.  

All ACT pharmacies are required to report supplies of all controlled medicines to ACT Health, in accordance with the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008.

All ACT pharmacies are currently required to manually submit this information to ACT Health each week via a web portal.

As of March 2019, ACT Health is working with the Australian Government to establish real time reporting for ACT pharmacies via the National Data Exchange (NDE), which forms part of the national Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) system.

This change will enable dispensing information to be viewable for health professionals in DORA in real time, immediately after a prescription is dispensed.

As a result of this change, ACT community pharmacies will no longer be required to submit weekly controlled medicines dispensing reports to ACT Health.

All ACT community pharmacies are currently able to report dispensing information to the NDE via their dispensing software.

As of March 2019, most hospital pharmacy systems are not able to report information to DORA in real time via the NDE. Hospital pharmacies that are unable to report in real time are still required to submit weekly electronic reports to ACT Health. The Australian Government is working to establish real time reporting via the NDE for hospital pharmacies. Further updates will be provided by ACT Health and the Australian Government when this occurs.

The ACT is planning to be the first Australian jurisdiction to integrate with the NDE. The ACT plans to adopt full national real time prescription monitoring functionality in the future after the initial ACT DORA rollout.

Page last updated on: 22 May 2019