A qualitative study of community pharmacy perceptions of the Electronic Prescriptions Service in England.
Harvey J., Avery AJ., Barber N.
OBJECTIVES: To explore attitudes and perceptions of early adopters of the Electronic Prescription Service (release two) in England (EPS2). EPS2 is information technology that allows community pharmacies to download and dispense electronically written prescriptions from general practices. When the prescriber writes a prescription electronically, it is sent and stored on a national central database, commonly called the Spine. The community pharmacy that the patient nominates is then able to download the prescription and dispense to the patient. METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with professionals from eight early adopter community pharmacies in the midlands and north of England, and 56 hours of non-participant observations were recorded as field notes. Each interview transcript was coded using a line-by-line approach. Overall, 37 200 words were analysed from 10 transcripts using a 'bottom up' approach to identify key perceptions. Field notes from the observation were analysed thematically and were used to verify interview findings. KEY FINDINGS: Findings follow a narrative which shows that (a) early adopter pharmacies had to cope with challenges such as missing EPS2 prescriptions, (b) despite this, they perceived EPS2 as helpful in streamlining pharmacy workflow and (c) were therefore keen to retain EPS2. CONCLUSIONS: Initial user perception of EPS2 provides a key message on the likelihood of the system being adopted beyond these eight pharmacies. Our findings provide key information for other pharmacies in the adoption process, and policymakers on the potential of EPS2 to achieve its goals and become sustainable in terms of its value to community pharmacies.