Guidance and Additional Resources


We have created this page to help you get the best from this dashboard.


We hope you will find the content useful and the links to related websites relevant on your journey to improve patient outcomes.


If you are unable to find the help you need on this page, we are always happy to explore other means to assist you. Please get in touch


James Innes| Senior Quality Improvement Advisor, NHS England and NHS Improvement, E| W / Skipton House, 80 London Rd, Elephant & Castle, London, SE1 6LH

User Guide



Public Health England (PHE) has completed a public health evidence review of available data and published evidence on the problems of dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines.


Please follow this link for more information


There is a call for greater monitoring of opioid prescribing in the UK, particularly of strong opioids in chronic pain, for which there is little evidence of clinical benefit. 


Please follow this link for more information


Polypharmacy has been described as the use of multiple medications by a patient generally, but not exclusively, older adults aged 65 and over. Polypharmacy is a key issue in health and social care, as evidence suggests that being on multiple medications increases the individuals’ risk of harm and contributes to hospital admissions and poor therapeutic outcomes. Indeed, patients on 10 or more medicines are over 300% more likely to be admitted to hospital.


Follow this link to access the original BSA guidance


A set of prescribing indicators have been developed as part of a programme of work to reduce medication error and promote safer use of medicines, including prescribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring. The programme of work is in response to the World Health Organisation (WHO) global challenge – Medication without Harm. More information can be found in the report of the Short Life Working Group.

The analysis is an experimental piece of work. This is the first-time prescribing data has been linked to admissions data at a national level.


Follow this link to access the original BSA guidance


Additional Resources

If we’re working on an improvement project, we’re interested in change over time. So we must display our data over time. Displaying our data monthly gives us the granular detail we need to understand how changes we have tried have impacted the data and by how much.

Please follow this link for a guide on interpreting run and statistical process charts

For a comprehensive methodology for developing SPC charts (including advanced techniques used in developing this dashboard), please follow this link

In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched its third Global Patient Safety Challenge ‘Medication Without Harm’, which aims to reduce the global burden of severe and avoidable medication-related harm by 50% over five years.

NHS Improvement and NHS England have established a national Medicine Safety Programme (MSP) which is gathering opinion about the most important priorities to address, through three lenses:

  • high risk drugs
  • high risk parts of the medicines use process
  • patients with the highest vulnerabilities

For more information, please follow this link

Every month, the NHS in England publishes anonymised data about the drugs prescribed by GPs. But the raw data files are large and unwieldy, with more than 700 million rows. Please follow this link to explore The Open Prescribing website that is making it easier for GPs, managers and everyone - supporting safer, more efficient prescribing.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are two methods to support the robust statistical interpretation of measures presented over time and to understand if your process has special cause and/or common cause variation. These are run charts and statistical process control (SPC) charts. SPC can help you understand the scale of any problem, gather information and identify possible causes when used in conjunction with other investigative tools, eg process mapping and spaghetti diagrams. You will then be able to measure the impact of any change and evaluate its worth.

Please read this guide  or follow this link for further information


Medicine safety: indicators for safer prescribing


A series of indicators to inform safer prescribing practice to help pharmacists, clinicians and patients review prescribed medication and prevent harm can be accessed via this link.



More information on the medication safety indicators used in this dashboard can be found by following this link


The dashboard is accessible only to authorised users. To get an account please get in touch with your improvement lead. You can also send an email to the patient safety measurement unity (PSMU) mailbox where someone will be happy to assist you

The medicines optimisation dashboard makes it easier for our users to develop plans to ensure that all patients achieve the best possible outcomes from their treatment, wherever they live.

The dashboard features:

  • Easy to use interface based on NHS RightCare’s Instant Atlas
  • Time series analysis to enable trends to be monitored
  • More regular refresh of data
  • New patient experience metrics
  • Ability to extract visuals for use in presentations

Measurement for Improvement