Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Prescription for an electronic revolution?

18.12.2007
Patients could be saved millions of trips to their GP under a new scheme that has the potential to revolutionise the system of prescribing medicines.

The electronic transfer of repeat prescriptions between general practices and pharmacies is currently being rolled out across the UK, in a bid to streamline the system and make it faster and more convenient for patients — as well as cutting down on prescription errors.

And now the scheme is to be studied by academics at The University of Nottingham after they were awarded a £750,000 research grant from NHS Connecting for Health. A team of experts will spend two years analysing whether the system, which had its official launch on October 1, 2007, will benefit patients and the NHS. Professor Tony Avery, of Nottingham University Medical School, will build on his proven track record of research expertise in the field of prescribing in primary care.

Changes to the current system will affect huge numbers of people, because repeat prescriptions account for more than 70 per cent of all prescriptions made on the NHS — around 500 million items of medicine every year.

Many are for elderly patients being treated for long-term ongoing conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, musculo-skeletal conditions and diabetes.

At the moment, a patient with a repeat prescription is required to go back to their GP practice each time their medication runs out, to request another prescription. The GP processes and signs each request by hand, meaning a wait for the patient of 2-3 working days. The patient then returns to the GP to pick up the new prescription, and then makes another journey, this time to the pharmacy to get their medication.

Under the new system, repeat prescription orders will be transferred electronically direct from the GP to the pharmacist when the previous prescription expires. So the patient need only make a single trip to the pharmacy, where their barcoded prescription form is swiped under an electronic reader and the medicine handed over.

Apart from the savings on the number of journeys patients have to make to get their prescription, the new system should also cut down on the number of errors that can occur when details are copied across from one form to another. It should also speed up payment for the GP, by transferring payment requests electronically to the Prescription Pricing Authority in Newcastle. Currently these requests are sent in hard copy, by post.

Tony Avery, Professor of Primary Care in The University of Nottingham’s Medical School, said: “The current system does work. But if you look at it in detail, the inevitable conclusion is that there must be a better way, a more efficient way, of issuing repeat prescriptions.

“The new system could radically alter the way in which we handle repeat prescriptions for patients on long-term medication.

“In many cases, patients who are on long-term medication don’t need to be routinely seen when their prescription is re-issued. These patients — many of whom are elderly — would benefit considerably from a system which makes it easier for them to get the medicines they need.

“There is also a major impact on GP practices in terms of reducing the paper workload and making things more efficient.”

The study will build on Professor Avery’s work in the field of patient safety, and will incorporate a large-scale before-and-after study to determine whether the new system results in a reduction in dispensing errors.

Professor Avery will be working alongside colleagues at The University of Nottingham including Dr Sarah Armstrong in Nottingham University Medical School, Professor Rachel Elliott in the School of Pharmacy and Dr Justin Waring in the School of Sociology.

On average there are 14 prescriptions dispensed per year to each person in the UK. But this is heavily weighted towards pensioners — with over-65s receiving an average of 38 prescription items each per year. The majority of these are for long-term conditions.

The cost of prescriptions in England amounts to around £8bn a year.

The funding for the study comes from the National Health Service’s Connecting for Health programme. It is being carried out in collaboration with the London School of Economics and the University of London School of Pharmacy.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>