Repeat Prescriptions Available via UK Mobile Phones
Published on: 18th May 2008
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
British medical patients can now request repeat prescriptions without ever visiting the doctor's surgery using digital interactive TV or their mobile phone. DigiTV, through the Looking Local portal, alongside EMIS, the primary care systems provider, is offering the free repeat prescriptions service following its successful national launch of GP appointment booking through digital interactive TV and mobile phones in 2007.
Around 1,400 surgeries using EMIS software - representing more than eight million patients - can now offer repeat prescription ordering through interactive TV, mobile phones and the internet, in addition to patient management of GP appointments through these channels.
The prescription service was previously only available over the Internet; more than 135,000 patients actively use the online system for repeat prescription requests and GP appointment booking.
More than 70 percent of all prescriptions signed off by GPs are repeat requests for patients who have ongoing health issues; the process is time-consuming for all involved.
Benefits of the repeat prescription system are realised all the way down the line. Patients - particularly those housebound or busy working - benefit from not having to go to the surgery. Practice staff spend less time with repeat prescription paperwork and the doctor is notified electronically to accept or reject the application, increasing efficiency in the surgery.
Steve Langrick, Business Strategy and Access manager at Kirklees Council with responsibility for Looking Local said; "Offering repeat prescriptions to complement GP appointments was a natural step towards extending our health related services and yet again demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing locally relevant e-enabled services, extending the convenience of this access to benefit more people.
"Efficient access to health related services is important to so many people and any time that can be freed-up through developments such as repeat prescriptions allows for that time to be re-invested for the benefit of patients."
Once registered for the service with their EMIS surgery, patients can request the prescription in real time. They can also use Looking Local to track the prescription(s) application and status of their request from the order date, in addition to any non-repeat prescriptions on order. With each prescription request, patients can use a message facility to contact the doctor with any queries.
The Kakoty Practice in Barnsley was one of the first in the UK to introduce GP appointment booking via digital interactive television. Dr Prakash Kakoty said: "The system has delivered many benefits to the practice and, of course, to patients, for whom it offers the ultimate in convenience.
"Extending the service to include repeat prescriptions is a fantastic development, especially for patients coping with long-term conditions that require constant medication."
Sean Riddell, Healthcare Managing Director of EMIS, said: "This is a great example of how partnerships between different technology providers can improve healthcare delivery.
"By enabling our systems to link up with the Looking Local portal, we will help thousands more patients to enjoy the benefits of these pioneering free services."