British National Formulary App results in time savings for NHS

The British National Formulary (BNF) App was introduced in July 2017, a year on from its launch, a medical app is helping to reduce the time it takes for clinicians to prescribe drugs to patients.

The app contains comprehensive information about all of the prescription medicines available on the NHS. It includes indications, contraindications, side effects, doses, legal classifications, and prices.

“We’ve had incredible feedback from across the NHS, with some doctors describing it as ‘indispensable’.”

Created by design and innovation consultancy, Modern Human with the BNF, the app’s core feature is an interaction checker that helps clinicians ensure the safety of their patients by intuitively checking for possible drug interactions. Over 126,000 clinicians are now using the app each month, checking pages every 6 seconds.

From usage figures, Modern Human estimates the app has been used to prescribe drugs safely to over 10 million patients and save each clinician roughly 15 hours a year or approximately 150,000 hours across the NHS each month.

Until last year, BNF information was only available to clinicians through either hard-copy reference books and static online versions, via the previous NICE app. This left doctors manually checking and cross-checking information – a time-intensive process.

The result is that health professionals are seeing time savings using the app compared to the paper and static online versions. During its research and testing, Modern Human estimated the time saved by clinicians could be as much as eight minutes per use.

Paul-Jervis Heath, Founder of Modern Human, observed: “We spent significant time in hospitals, on wards, in busy pharmacies and in GP surgeries shadowing clinicians to understand their working practices and needs for drug information. Our aim was to design a solution in partnership with health professionals, so they had a product they wanted, valued and that provided immediate benefit to their interactions with patients.”

Karen Baxter, BNF Director at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society commented, “We’ve had incredible feedback from across the NHS, with some doctors describing it as ‘indispensable’. In the wider sense we are helping the NHS towards its ambition of being paper-free by 2020. But really the benefit is to patient care, by allowing front line health professionals to quickly access information supporting the safe use of medicines at the touch of a button.”