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 importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>