The first system supplier for the electronic prescription service (EPS) in secondary care should be approved in early June 2022, Ann Slee, associate chief clinical information officer at NHS England, has said.
Speaking at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress in London on 13 May 2022, Slee said: “Our ‘first of type’ system supplier IC24 came out of testing yesterday and they are now going through the final part of assurance to get their clinical safety side, which we’re hoping will be completed within the first week of June.
“So that provides a system for secondary care to use within the outpatient setting.”
The ‘first of type’ site is Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Slee revealed that clinicians using the IC24 system there have said it is “absolutely revolutionising the way they are caring for patients in outpatients”.
The next two system suppliers are “well on their way”, said Slee, adding that it is hoped that they will be live before the end of 2022.
“There are a number of other [system suppliers] in development and engaging with us but there are also some that haven’t put it on their roadmap yet.”
In 2020, three hospital trusts in England piloted the EPS — which will enable hospital outpatient prescriptions to be sent electronically to patients’ nominated community pharmacy — using a TPP computer system, in an effort to support COVID-19 outpatients.
However, Slee explained that the pilot tried to reuse the existing primary care EPS system, which was developed 15 years ago.
“Whilst we got it working, it wasn’t scalable,” she said. “We need a modern and flexible service if we are going to move forward. We have to have simplified messaging and we need to be able to enhance and develop a system very quickly,” she added.
The NHS Digital website notes that the EPS used in secondary care will be slightly different to that used in primary care, with some functions unavailable.
The website also states that all hospital trusts will need to use the dictionary of medicines and devices and product-based prescribing before implementing EPS.