SCRIPT is a national eLearning programme designed to encourage safe and effective prescribing and medicines management. The web-based modules are aimed at healthcare professionals and undergraduate healthcare students. SCRIPT was commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) and developed by the University of Birmingham in partnership with OCB Media. The programme is freely available to all NHS staff and from August 2021, all Higher Education Institutions in the UK to support undergraduate teaching.
An estimated 237 million medication prescription errors occur in England each year, with avoidable errors costing £1.6 billion and contributing to 22,303 deaths per annum. In 2009, the General Medical Council commissioned the EQUIP study and found that Foundation trainee doctors prescribe with an error rate of 8-10%. As a result, SCRIPT was created in 2010 to improve prescribing competency among Foundation trainee doctors. The programme’s success led to further SCRIPT portfolios being developed for dentists, paediatric trainee specialists, nurses, general practitioners, Foundation pharmacists and ambulance service staff.
Overall, the SCRIPT programme now comprises of more than 120 modules. Each individual portfolio consists of a number of modules covering a wide range of therapeutic topics. Modules are authored, edited and peer reviewed by a team of expert healthcare professionals, and are regularly reviewed and updated.
SCRIPT eLearning is established as a best practice resource in the UK and recommended in professional guidelines and training standards. In 2020, the SCRIPT eLearning programme celebrated ten years of providing education to over 55,000 NHS staff and 11,500 medical and nursing students.
SCRIPT eLearning standardises the training and education of undergraduate healthcare students and healthcare professionals across the NHS, to reduce the risk of medication errors and optimise the use of medicines to benefit patient care.
As a research group, we are investigating the impact of SCRIPT on four levels according to the Kirkpatrick hierarchy of evaluating training programmes:
- Reaction: How do students and practitioners react to the eLearning and what observations can we make from their engagement and learning behaviour within the online environment?
- Learning: The impact of the eLearning on knowledge acquisition, looking specifically at the performance of medical students in the national prescribing safety assessment and pre/post-test module scores.
- Behaviour: We are exploring the perceived and actual influence of eLearning on professional attitudes and behaviour in practice.
- Results: What impact does the eLearning have on medication errors and patient safety?
SCRIPT eLearning can be accessed at www.safeprescriber.org
- Mason J, Vallance H, Pontefract S, Coleman J. Safe prescribing in general dental practice – challenges and solutions. Dental Update. (2019) Oct 2;46(9):828-835. https://doi.org/10.12968/denu.2019.46.9.828
- Brooks HL, Pontefract SK, Vallance HK, Hirsch C, Hughes E, Ferner RE, Marriott JF, Coleman JJ. Perceptions and Impact of Mandatory eLearning for Foundation Trainee Doctors: A Qualitative Evaluation. (2016) PLoS ONE, 11 (12): e0168558.
- Brooks H, Pontefract SK, Hodson J, Blackwell N, Hughes E, Marriott JF, Coleman JJ. An evaluation of UK foundation trainee doctors’ learning behaviours in a technology-enhanced learning environment. BMC Medical Education. (2016);16(1):133.
SCRIPT and independent research
- Bakkum MJ, Tichelaar J, Papaioannidou P, Likic R, Sanz Alvarez EJ, Christiaens T, Costa JN, Mačiulaitis R, Dima L, Coleman J, Richir MC, van Agtmael MA; Education Working Group of the European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (EACPT) and its affiliated Network of Teachers in Pharmacotherapy (NOTIP). Harmonizing and improving European education in prescribing: An overview of digital educational resources used in clinical pharmacology and therapeutics. (2020) British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. doi: 10.1111/bcp.14453. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32638391.
- Bakkum MJ, Tichelaar J, Wellink A, Richir MC, van Agtmael MA. Digital Learning to Improve Safe and Effective Prescribing: A Systematic Review. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Dec;106(6):1236-1245. doi: 10.1002/cpt.1549. Epub 2019 Jul 29. PMID: 31206612; PMCID: PMC6896235.
- Cullinan S, O'Mahony D, and Byrne S. Use of an e-Learning Educational Module to Better Equip Doctors to Prescribe for Older Patients: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Drugs Aging, 2017. 34(5): p. 367-374.
University of Birmingham
OCB Media Ltd
- Dr Nicolas Blackwell (Director)
- Jennifer Ferguson (Director of Operations)
Health Education England (HEE)
- Neil Ralph (Programme Lead, Technology Enhanced Learning)
- Alison Potter (Technology Enhanced Learning Lead)
Current research projects
- Knowledge: We are investigating the impact of the learning on knowledge, looking specifically at the performance of medical students in the national prescribing safety assessment (PSA). We are linking student engagement with SCRIPT and their PSA scores using data from UKMed.
- Knowledge gaps: We are investigating gaps in knowledge of Foundation dentists and Foundation doctors, looking at their pre-test (baseline) module scores.
- Content gaps: We are informing our portfolio development through conducting gap analyses to identify content missing from all modules, including undergraduate nursing and physiotherapy programmes for students to achieve ‘prescriber readiness’ upon graduation.
- Engagement: we are investigating the engagement of NHS workers with SCRIPT modules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Continuing to support undergraduate student’s research projects.
SCRIPT programme developments
- Programme content transfer on to a new platform
- Continually improving, maintaining and adding to the SCRIPT programme content
- Development of an additional portfolio featuring selected SCRIPT modules to focus on the priorities set in the World Health Organization ‘Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm’.
- Development of a Prescriber Ready Portfolio – specifically tailored to provide non-medical prescribers with the underpinning knowledge to become ‘prescriber-ready’.
- Development of informative and educational podcasts for patients and healthcare professionals
Awards, Accreditations and Endorsements
- RCP Excellence in Patient Care Awards. Shortlisted in Medical Education and Training category (2018)
- West Midlands Academic Health Science Network. Celebration of Innovation Award – Highly Commended for Patient Safety (Nursing SCRIPT) (2016)
- Patient Safety Awards. Winner of Improving Safety in Medicine Management category (Medicine & Surgery SCRIPT) (2013)
- Patient Safety Awards. Finalist in Education and Training category (Medicine & Surgery SCRIPT) (2013)
- BMJ Improving Health Awards. Finalist: Excellence in Healthcare Education (Medicine & Surgery SCRIPT) (2012)
- Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Educational Accreditation of ‘Sepsis in Primary Care’ module