Figures from ScriptSwitch reveal that a total of 22 million such products were dispensed last year, accounting for a net ingredient cost of £480 million. That represents a huge opportunity for savings potential – money which could be reinvested in improving other services.
The Midlands based business provides software to assist prescribers in making cost effective and consistent decisions. But, up until now, the service has not been extended to dressings and appliances.
The ability to make switches on dressings and appliances was successfully deployed at beta sites in North Wales last month and the functionality will be available for general use from early October.
ScriptSwitch head of medicines management Martyn Carroll believes that an increasing range of new products, coupled with associated rising costs, has led to a genuine need for objective information to support appropriate and cost effective prescribing in these areas.
He said: “This development enhances the capability of ScriptSwitch customers to deliver comprehensive medicines management programmes and opens the doors to prescribers.
“Clinicians have indicated that they would like to see decision support information in the area of dressings and appliances, and we are delighted to be able to offer this service and make ScriptSwitch a multidisciplinary tool.”
Mr Carroll believed that the prescribing tool was particularly significant because while PCTs are developing their own formularies, they don’t have the ability to provide up-to-the-minute information and advice on usage at the actual point of prescribing.
He added: “Advisors can’t be there to sit by a GP or nurse 24 hours a day to remind them of what is in the formulary and what cost effective decisions are available, so this is an untapped area. We are sure that the added functionality will be extremely well received by both new and existing customers alike.”
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