NHS publishes data on optimal medication use in a bid to improve patient outcomes

NHS England updates a 'dashboard' of data designed to ensure patients take medication in the most effective way

An updated ‘dashboard’ of data designed to help NHS organisations understand how patients are being supported in taking their medications has been published by NHS England.

The aim of the Medicines Optimisation Dashboard, developed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society with the help of patients, nurses, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, is to ensure patients get the right medicine at the right time.

The dashboard provides data in a range of areas, including mental health, antibiotic prescribing and respiratory disease. The information will allow local NHS organisations to highlight variation in practice and stimulate discussion on the appropriateness of local care.

It is not intended to be used as a performance management tool but is designed to encourage localised discussions about how well patients are supported to get the most from their medicines.

NHS England deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Bruce Warner said: ‘Medicine optimisation is about ensuring the right patients get the right choice of medicine at the right time. It is important that the way medicine is used is centred on the patient if we are to exploit the maximum benefit from their use.’

According to NHS England, about 50% of medicines are not taken as intended and between 5% and 8% of all unplanned hospital admissions are the result of medication problems. This figure rises to 17% in the people over 65. It adds that £300 million is wasted in primary care alone, about half of which is avoidable.

Last week, an independent review of NHS productivity found hospitals in England could save £3 billion by taking measures that include procuring better-value medicines and matching them more closely to patients’ needs. It said the lack of quality data and absence of relative performance measurements are obstacles to productivity.

For further information about the dashboard, click here.

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