Improving Presciptions Ordering Services in Primary Care

Dudley Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) Service

In order to improve efficiency and appropriateness of repeat prescription ordering, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) operates a Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) Service across several GP practices, led by the CCG’s Pharmaceutical Public Health team. Led by a desire to extend coverage and improve usage, the service needed support to improve its infrastructure, review communication and engagement, and develop its workforce.

The Dudley CCG POD, which was established in January 2017, was developed by the CCG’s Pharmaceutical Public Health Team. Based on the original Coventry POD model it provides pharmaceutical expertise and leadership to reduce the need for medicines and prescribing related queries to be dealt with at practice level. It enables patients at eight participating GP practices to request and receive regular prescription medicine via a telephone service, removing the need for unnecessary visits to the surgery.

The telephone service is manned by a team of operatives and includes a pharmacist, who can support any requests that require a clinical review or questions that the operatives cannot answer. The POD had an intention to extend the service to all the practices in Dudley through a phased rollout. This would require a gradual increase in the number of call handlers working within the POD, which would impact on office space and utilisation of the telephony system. The service required an updated business continuity plan and a programme of regular audits.

In order to quickly and effectively deliver the improvements required for expansion, the POD needed project management expertise to:

* Lead an options appraisal for a new telephony system

* Review options for future office space and equipment needs

* Set up a team audit to inform workforce development plans and operating processes

* Develop a business continuity plan

*Review usage of the service and the communications and engagement plan.

Approval of the new system by the CCG’s relevant governance groups was also facilitated and mobilisation of the new solution was overseen. The project manager was also able to identify appropriate office space and equipment in readiness for the team’s expansion.

Developing processes and workforce

Arden & GEM designed and tested an audit process and completed a handover with the service’s manager to ensure these are now being undertaken on a regular basis. A finalised business continuity plan is also in place to ensure patients and practices are assured of a high quality and consistent service.

Robust and regular audit processes are in place and initial audits have already highlighted potential improvements in standard operating procedures, for example, requiring call handlers to note completion of synchronisation of medicine ordering.

As a result of the support provided by Arden & GEM’s experienced transformation team, the service will have a new telephony system and office space in place in January 2019, improved operating processes and procedures, and a series of implementable recommendations to improve usage, putting the POD in a prime position for expansion.

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