“SPOT” Safer Prescription of Opioids Tool

PATCH funded the prototype stage of SPOT – a novel application that can be used on a range of mobile devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones to calculate painkiller dosages.

Senior woman in a hospital bed having talking to male doctor with stethoscope and clipboard

SPOT (Safer Prescription of Opioids Tool) is a clinician-led, clinically validated, clinician decision support tool, devised by Dr Roger Flint who trained at Dundee University and Ninewells Hospital. The application is designed to to reduce opioid prescribing error.

A number of strong painkillers, morphine derivatives, are used in the management of patients with advanced illness or cancer. Converting from one painkiller to another requires care and is presently performed using paper tables of approximate equivalence.

As Dr Flint explains:

Two weeks after starting work as a doctor I was asked to switch painkillers for a patient who was very ill and towards the end of their life. It took me a long time to calculate the correct dosage. There was no way to double check my calculation, and I felt unable to prescribe the pain relief.  It was a sobering lesson and I was determined that no other junior doctor or patient should be put in the same position.

SPOT double checks such drug conversions. It is a CE marked medical device, and is undergoing clinical investigation in NHS Tayside. SPOT has the support of the University of Dundee, NHS Tayside, the Digital Health and Care Institute and Scottish Enterprise.

Further information

The Safer Prescribing of Opioids Tool (SPOT)