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Emis Group Plc : Smarter software to make GP prescribing safer

05/05/2012 | 01:41am US/Eastern
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Friday, 4 May 2012

Smarter software to make GP prescribing safer

A call from the General Medical Council (GMC) for smarter software to help GPs reduce prescribing errors has highlighted EMIS's position as an industry leader in decision support technology.

Many of the issues highlighted in the GMC-commissioned study are already covered by the EMIS Web integrated care system - including sophisticated prescribing alerts that don't overload the GP and direct electronic links with pharmacists, closing the prescribing loop.

GMC chair Professor Peter Rubin said GPs needed to invest in better technology following a GMC-commissioned study that revealed mistakes or omissions in one in 20 prescriptions. The GMC also called for GPs and pharmacists to work together more closely to reduce the risk of errors.

Complex decisions

Dr Shaun O'Hanlon, clinical and development director at EMIS said: "This important study has revealed just how complex prescribing decisions are, and as a former GP, I know that there are times when we need to balance one risk against another - this is often not evident when reviewing the prescription in isolation.

"However, the good news is that the smart software called for by the GMC is already being implemented - an increasing number of GPs and pharmacists using EMIS Web, our integrated record system, have the very latest tools to make prescribing safer.

Avoid 'alert fatigue'

"EMIS Web includes advanced decision support for prescribing, which flags up key drug safety alerts that make GPs stop and think, and even justify their decision, circumventing 'alert fatigue'.

"It also allows GPs to monitor and manage patients on drugs with a low therapeutic index such as Warfarin more safely. Our medication management tool informs GPs when the patient they are seeing or prescribing for is overdue for an INR check - the commonest serious issue mentioned in the report. Integration in EMIS Web of SMS alerting to the patient when monitoring is overdue is another way of improving safety - and involving patients in their own care." 

Linking GPs and pharmacists

He added: "Close links between GPs and local community pharmacists are of course vital to improve prescribing, and the Medicines Manager tool, developed jointly by EMIS and Rx Systems, allows them to communicate with each other electronically about patients' repeat medication and exchange information directly.

"GPs and community pharmacies are already collaborating when making complex prescribing decisions and are realising the benefits in terms of patient safety, compliance and improved care."

Media enquiries: Contact Libby Howard or Ruth Devlin, Judge & Howard,
tel: 0161 212 1611, email . Out-of-hours enquiries to
Libby Howard on 07879 446277.

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