Welcome! It's on Monday 20th November 2017

Electronic prescription service: the benefits

So far this week we’ve discussed EPS, its aims, and its problems. Join us today as we’ll be talking about the benefits of a fully functional electronic prescription service

Posted: 4 February 2016

If you’ve missed yesterday’s episode of our weekly feature about EPS, click here.

Despite glitches in the roll-out of EPS it has been widely recognised as beneficial for prescribers and dispensers, who are becoming more integrated with patients also benefitting from improved convenience. Dr Rafi says: “We now have a real opportunity to strengthen joint working between GP practices and pharmacists on medicines management and making prescribing and dispensing more efficient by making more use of electronic repeat dispensing. This could help to improve compliance and reduce wastage.”

Feedback from 58 delegates from sectors including generalpractice, pharmacy, local NHS organisations, system suppliers, patients and professional bodies at the EPS forum held on 1 July 2015, praised the advantages of EPS.

Attendees were asked to rank the benefits – defined as measurable improvements resulting from outcomes perceived as advantageous by one or more stakeholders – against negative outcomes termed ‘disbenefits’. Habergham says: “I was delighted that the forum cited a number of benefits for patients, including that with EPS patients don’t need to pick up repeat prescriptions from their GP.”

Other patient benefits mentioned included that prescriptions cannot be lost and that patients can nominate a pharmacy to suit them. Meanwhile, prescribers reported improvements to efficiency, improved accuracy of the prescriptions and a reduction in patients who fraudulently alter their record or claim loss or theft.

Dr Rafi says: "EPS has the potential to simplify and speed up prescribing management, which is beneficial for GPs, our teams and patients. Overall uptake is high and where the system is in use, we have heard that it has been well-received.”

Similarly, dispensers perceived top-ranking benefits to EPS to be the patient experience, safety and efficiency.

However, there is still work to do.

Richard Jefferson, head of programme commissioning at NHS England, says: “There is a significant amount of work still to do, including ensuring that all organisations in the chain have the most robust and resilient services, and that we optimise the service for both GPs and pharmacy in terms of usability, and for patients in terms of offering greater convenience in the future with the ability to track and receive prescriptions in the ways most convenient to them.”

Habergham add/: “Evaluation of the benefits of EPS is an ongoing activity and we continue to talk to pharmacists, GPS, suppliers and patients to validate existing benefits. We also identify new benefits and disbenefits as we see an increase in the use of EPS.”

Tune in tomorrow for the last episode of our weekly feature about EPS