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Electronic prescribing

Electronic prescriptions can improve patient experience, study finds

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is “saving time and improving the patient experience” according to a study by auditors PwC.

The study, published in September 2017, was commissioned by NHS Digital, with the support of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and NHS England, and it aimed to assess the costs and benefits associated with the EPS Release 2 system compared with paper prescriptions.

Research for the study included visits to a range of pharmacies across England, interviews with pharmacy team members, and collecting feedback on EPS from a group of contractors and their teams through an online survey.

According to a PSNC briefing paper on the study, pharmacy staff reported that if they have the EPS system in place patients “do not need to wait in the pharmacy for as long, saving time and improving the patient experience”.

Of those who responded to the survey, 65% were either positive or very positive about the system, and 16% were either negative or very negative. Most (61%) community pharmacists preferred to use the EPS over paper prescriptions, with 24% saying they preferred paper.

Recommendations from the study included developing an electronic audit trail “which works well with EPS”, and ensuring business continuity plans are in place with local GP surgeries in case of technological failures.

The report says pharmacies should install further computer workstations, and it also recommends that at least one team member within the pharmacy should have the role of EPS champion, “who can support training of colleagues and use of the system on a day-to-day basis”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203634

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