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Northern Ireland GPs get new medicines system

24/01/22
Doctor typing on laptop beside stethoscope

Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Board has begun to deploy the FDB OptimiseRx primary care medicines optimisation solution to practices across the region.

The company, otherwise known as First Databank, said this will give GPs and other primary care prescribers across Northern Ireland access to decision support technology at the point of prescribing.

The first group of GP practices began to use the system in December, and it will be deployed across the region in a phased approach.

The system can present prescribers with messages on relevant information to their existing clinical IT systems to support a prescribing decision.

Messages displayed are tailored to a patient’s specific medical history and can indicate when particular medicines might be potentially inappropriate or highlight drugs that might be more appropriate for a particular patient.

They can also show prescribers when medications might require additional safety measures, such as additional tests or supplementary drugs, and reference relevant national guidance and regional clinical best practice. In addition, they can highlight more cost-effective options when appropriate.

The decision to procure OptimiseRx was made by a project board with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from GP federations and the general practitioners committee.

Decisions under pressure

Dr Brenda Bradley, pharmacy lead at the Health and Social Care Board, said: “GPs and other primary care professionals need to make important prescribing decisions every day in very pressurised environments. Having information from a prescribing decision support solution will provide them with timely advice around evidenced based, cost-effective prescribing.

“It will help prescribers to increase the effectiveness, safety and quality of prescribing in primary care and ultimately help to improve outcomes for patients and reduce the risk of medicines related harm.”

The deployment is an element of Northern Ireland’s Pharmaceutical Clinical Effectiveness Programme, which aims to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of medicines management in health and social care services.

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