A new prescription analysis system for community pharmacists in the UK has been launched by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).
The system, called Check34, allows community pharmacy contractors to monitor and analyse trends and anomalies in prescription payments and track performance indicators. The online system also allows users to benchmark their performance against regional and national data, giving insights into business management and planning.
Check34 was developed as a business analysis tool and the NPA and PSNC say there are no plans to make the data available to anyone other than contractors. However, David Wright, professor of pharmacy practice at the University of East Anglia, notes that with the appropriate permissions and anonymisation, it is potentially an excellent resource for researchers who are interested in prescribing trends, patterns in community pharmacy service provision and changes in prescription workload.
“It should provide data that enable generalisations to be made regarding the provision of NHS nationally funded community pharmacy services and is of sufficient size to enable important differences in practice to be identified,” he says.
The idea of harnessing the Check34 database for research was also welcomed by Michael Twigg, research fellow in pharmacy practice at the University of East Anglia. “It will also be interesting to observe, in light of recent suggestions that pharmacists should be checking the exemption status of patients more closely, what impact the ‘switched prescriptions’ data have on how pharmacists approach this discussion both with patients and within the profession,” he says.