Electronic prescription dispensing is set to penetrate the most remote and rural corners of England after a ground-breaking piece of software was accredited by the NHS.
Titan PMR has become the first viable software to be given full release authority by the NHS to provide electronic prescription services (EPS) to dispensing doctors – surgeries with an additional licence to dispense medicine on site.
Over 1,000 of these doctors, who provide a vital service to rural almost 10 million people in rural communities, can now offer their patients the same level of benefits and efficiencies that electronic prescriptions and Titan PMR have brought to pharmacies around the UK.
Patients will enjoy lower waiting times, enhanced safety and improved service thanks to the use of barcode scanning, artificial intelligence and digital workflow in the back office. These features will also increase efficiency for dispensing doctors, who will reduce dispensing errors and improve organisation, increasing their capacity while enjoying the ability to integrate with other technologies.
After a full year of testing, including six months of compliance testing at a practice in Cumbria, the new accreditation for Titan also has potential to help the NHS fulfil its target of all prescriptions being issued electronically. Currently written paper prescriptions from dispensing doctors account for around seven per cent of the total prescriptions in England – around 6.5 million each month.
“Until now dispensing doctor surgeries have basically been in the digital dark ages when it comes to dispensing medicines,” said Tariq Muhammad, a tech entrepreneur and CEO of Bristol-based Invatech Health, which developed Titan PMR.
“What this accreditation means is that surgeries can deliver a more efficient and safer service to their patients, with doctors able to spend less time pushing paper and more time speaking to people and helping with their problems.
“All this builds patient loyalty and stops the loss of dispensing income that makes these rural surgeries sustainable.
“For the NHS, digital dispensing of medicines is like taking away the final blockage from a dam that’s ready to burst. Our system can dramatically help with better dispensing processes. We’re already administering one in 20 prescriptions in the country and that figure’s growing every day.
“Of course for us as a business, with 1,000 dispensing doctors in England and with no viable alternatives to our system, it’s got great potential as a growth area.
“We just want to help bring the benefits of technology to every sector where medicines are dispensed. Everybody wins – patients, our communities, the NHS, pharmacists and now dispensing doctors too.”
In late 2019 Titan became the first new patient medication record (PMR) system to be accredited by the NHS in more than a decade. With its innovative barcode, cloud-based technology it is revolutionising the pharmacy industry and has been adopted en masse in community pharmacies and the disruptive online sector. Since deployment it has grown rapidly and now processes more than five per cent, or four million per month, of all prescriptions in the UK. The number is expected to double in the next year.
In March 2021, Titan it helped create the UK’s first entirely paper-free pharmacy, in Sheffield. It has won contracts with the fastest growing online pharmacies in the country and helped cut dispensing errors at some locations by up to 95 per cent.
Laura Wright is the manager of Stoneleigh Surgery in Milnthorpe, Cumbria, where Titan was tested in a dispensing doctor surgery.
“With multiple locations, none of which are able to generate prescriptions, we were keen to start working with EPS,” she said. “Paper prescriptions would often not be available when patients came into the dispensary but now they are immediately available at the surgery.
“There’s an increased level of safety, and it’s much easier to find what stage the patient’s medication is at. We’re already finding that patients love the improved service that we offer from our dispensary, which is good for our community and offers us greater potential to further enhance our service.”