Academic study reveals positive impact of prescribing decision support system, FDB OptimiseRx
Academic analysis shows primary care prescribers have been preventing adverse drug reactions, harm, and hospital admissions through the use of safer prescribing technology.
Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) carried out an analysis of benefits GPs and other primary care prescribers achieved through the use of a prescribing decision support system called FDB OptimiseRx, currently used in around two thirds of practices in England.
The research aims to begin to build a picture on what progress is being made overall and assess the benefit in primary care from prescribing support and guidance
Focused on a small sample of medicines and associated best-practice alerts issued by the system to general practice prescribers, the analysis showed consistent impact in reducing preventable adverse drug reactions, which have historically been linked with 10% of hospital admissions in older people and a cost to the NHS of £800m per year.
The analysis showed:
Separately to the AHSN findings, which were commissioned by First Databank (FDB), the company reported that prescribers have now achieved more than £225m of savings through the OptimiseRx system since it was first introduced into the NHS in 2014.
This included £179m through alerting professionals to more-cost-effective medicines, and £46m in costs avoided – such as following NHS England guidance when not to prescribe certain items.
Darren Nichols, managing director at FDB, said: “The issue of reducing severe and avoidable medication harm has been an important global challenge for several years, with ambitious targets by the World Health Organisation to secure action.
“There is a huge estimated cost to the NHS each year from adverse drug reactions, but limited formal data and analysis.
This is a snapshot of what prescribing tech could deliver for safer prescribing at a time when the UK and the world is striving to reduce medicine-related harm
“The research aims to begin to build a picture on what progress is being made overall and assess the benefit in primary care from prescribing support and guidance.”
He added: “In the case of reducing adverse drug reactions, the AHSN analysis has uncovered some significant benefits – ranging from reduced hospital admissions linked to prescribing behaviour around one medicine, to tens of thousands of falls prevented for elderly patients by supporting changes in prescribing decisions.
“This is based on an examination of only a very-small sample of the many thousands of different types of messages presented to staff in primary care every day through the system – a snapshot of what prescribing tech could deliver for safer prescribing at a time when the UK and the world is striving to reduce medicine-related harm.”