Principal Investigators: Prof Darren Ashcroft and Dr Niels Peek, The University of Manchester, Technical Lead: Mr Richard Williams, The University of Manchester, Research Associates: Dr Richard Keers, Mr Mark Jeffries, The University of Manchester and Mr Wouter Gude, University of Amsterdam
Software developers have created an easy-to-view electronic dashboard that helps general practices identify patients at-risk of medication errors and take action before any potential harm can occur.
A recent study of English general practices identified errors in 5% of prescription medicines, with one in 550 containing a potentially life threatening error. Another study has shown that medication errors cost the NHS on average, about £500m per year.
To address these issues, researchers at The University of Manchester developed a new computer system that allows general practices to avoid potentially unsafe situations by delivering carefully targeted information to health professionals.
Building on existing research from the University of Nottingham (PINCER), the research team developed a program that is able to search an entire database of patient records. Any patient identified as being ‘at risk’ of potential medication errors is then flagged up to pharmacists working in surgeries in an easy to view, visual dashboard of information.
Patients identified as ‘at-risk’ could, for example, have been receiving a repeat prescription for a long period of time without having been invited to a check-up, or be on a complex mix of medications that need to be carefully managed.
The dashboard allows health professionals to understand quickly whether any additional action needs to be taken to address the situation.