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Managed Print Service benefits prescription processing

As with many IT implementations, some of the benefits are immediately expected, others appear once the service has been operational for a while, with surprising outcomes.  The recent managed print service pilot has been experiencing benefits not only at a GP practice level but right through to the Shared Service Partnership. This is the organisation that  processes prescription claims  after they have been dispensed at the chemist.
The managed print service provides reliable, supported printers for GP practices, who rely on printers for producing prescriptions to support patient care.  The intuitive service also recognises when new printer cartridges are required and automatically issues new cartridges to the GP practice. 
The Primary Care Services section of Shared Services is responsible for the timely and accurate capture of data from every NHS prescription dispensed in Wales. This data is used to calculate the reimbursement due to community pharmacies, appliance contractors, dispensing doctors and GPs who personally administer medication for medicines and medical devices they dispense against NHS prescriptions.
The improved printing quality as a result of the managed print service has had an impact on the ability to read the prescription barcodes through the scanners at Shared Services, as Simon Johnson-Reynolds explained
“We scan the form and read the data from the barcode.  What that allows us to do is to decode the prescription item and pre-process that in many cases”
The scanners can process around 20,000 prescriptions every hour, and the office deals with around 3 million prescriptions a month.
Matthew Wallace outlined the problem “On average around 9% of the prescriptions can’t be read for whatever reason.”
Simon further outlined the impact this has “That results in the form going through as an un-scanned item.  And generally means that all the data on the form has to be manually keyed in by a processing officer. Obviously that has a big impact then on workforce and time”
When you consider the volume of prescriptions per month, that is over a quarter of a million prescriptions that need to be manually keyed in.  A huge impact on resources.
Matthew reflected on the pilot practices, including the Penybryn surgery that was the subject of a previous case study. “Their practice had 7% un-read before they joined the pilot.  That has now gone down to around 2%, so that’s a big improvement.”
Simon concluded “By improving the print quality it means that more of these forms that we receive will be scanned and read the first time they are put through the scanner”
The results from the managed print service pilot have proved to be positive, and the roll out across Wales will be commencing later in the year.