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Electronic prescribing

Pharmacists ask for improvements to electronic prescription service

Pharmacists have told NHS Digital how they would like the electronic prescription service to be improved.

experienced pharmacist using computer while managing the drug stock in a contemporary pharmacy with modern technology

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Pharmacy teams would also like to see automatic downloads, so that prescriptions appear in the dispensing system inbox throughout the day without manual download requests having to be made

High-priority prescriptions, the ability to manage patient requests for the one-off use of a pharmacy, and automatic downloads of prescriptions are the top three enhancements to the electronic prescription service (EPS) pharmacy professionals would like to see prioritised, a survey has found.

Around 1,000 pharmacy team members took part in an online survey, carried out by NHS Digital, which asked community pharmacy teams what improvements to the EPS they would most like to see.

The most requested EPS enhancements from the survey were high-priority prescriptions to give prescribers the ability to add alerts to urgent EPS prescriptions, and ‘one-off nomination’, to enable staff to manage a patient’s request for the one-off use of a pharmacy while ensuring that future prescriptions returned to the original nominated dispenser.

The survey also revealed that pharmacy teams would like to see automatic downloads, giving them the ability to choose to automatically have prescriptions appear in the dispensing system inbox throughout the day without manual download requests.

To date, 11,675 pharmacies have ‘gone live’ with the EPS since it was introduced in 2013.

Sibby Buckle, chair of the Pharmacy Digital Forum, and vice chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, said: “On the whole, we agreed with the findings, especially high-priority prescriptions. When you are a public-facing pharmacy with four thousand scrips a week, it is really important when you are downloading every hour that priority scrips are flagged.”

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), said the organisation was “pleased to work with NHS Digital to ensure that community pharmacy teams had the opportunity to feed directly into the ongoing development programme for the EPS”.

This survey is one of a series canvassing pharmacy’s opinions on IT, which have been planned by PSNC, NHS Digital and others. The series includes an audit by NHS Digital, which found that the EPS system had saved pharmacies £60m over the past three years.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20204068

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