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 Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains

19.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Global threat to primates concerns us all

19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>