Powys Health Teaching Board has deployed prescribing decision support software to GPs across mid-Wales with the aim of delivering better treatment to the 133,000 people living in the region.

First Data Bank (FDB) OptimiseRx, delivered by Hearst Health International, is a software tool that provides GPs, pharmacies and other prescribers with patient-specific guidance regarding medication, drawing on information from the electronic patient record.

This enables prescribers to make better decisions about appropriate treatment for individual patients, not only through suggesting which medications are and are not suitable for the patient, but also by suggesting the most cost-effective course of treatment.

Powys is a rural area in Wales that makes up approximately a quarter of the country. As the region lacks a district general hospital, Powys Health Teaching Board delivers its services locally through GPs and community hospitals.

The board hopes the software will support the delivery of targets set out by the All Wales Medicine Strategy Group, established to promote safe and effective prescribing across primary care.

Jason Carroll, medicines management pharmacist at Powys Teaching Health Board, said: “We chose FDB OptimiseRx because it aligns to our local and national prescribing strategies, and offers us an opportunity to directly support prescribers at the point of care through EMIS Web.

“We are particularly keen to utilise the unique features of FDB OptimiseRx in supporting delivery of the Welsh Antimicrobial Resistance Programme by promoting the prudent use of antimicrobials in primary care.”

FDB OptimiseRx works by providing patient-specific guidance messages to GPs, based on information it draws from patient records in EMIS Web, TPP SystmOne, and the Microtest Evolution clinical system.

Information is displayed to prescribers within their current clinical setup. This means guidance is only displayed to GPs when relevant and does not require changes to workflow.

It is argued the system benefits patients by ensuring they receive the most appropriate medicine for them, based on their personal medical history. Once a safe course of treatment has been identified, the system identifies the most inexpensive medicine available to the prescriber, therefore avoiding unnecessary cost to the local NHS service.

Hearst Health International claims OptimiseRx is the UK’s most popular prescribing decision support solution, with more than 60% of primary care organisations now using it.