More accessible prescribing data

A new online prescribing platform has been launched to make prescription data more accessible and usable for the benefit of the healthcare community and patients.

Until now, GP prescription data, which is published each month by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), has been very time-consuming and laborious to access and analyse.

Open Prescribing enables users to quickly turn complex data into simple graphs, allowing them to spot patterns and variations in prescribing at both CCG and general practice level. Available for all to use free of charge, the new prescribing platform has the potential to improve patient safety and help save the NHS millions of pounds, say the developers.

Platform is free to access

With support from the West of England Academic Health Science Network, the platform has been co-developed by computer programmer Anna Powell-Smith and Ben Goldacre, senior clinical research fellow at the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Ben Goldacre said: "This platform makes complex data easily accessible. You can drill right down to the prescribing behaviour of individual GP practices, and all in the space of seconds. can help identify where there are variations and specific trends which could present opportunities for huge cost savings, or better prescribing.”

OpenPrescribing has been launched initially as a beta version so as to gain initial feedback from clinicians, CCGs and patients. The site includes advice on interpreting the data with caution.

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