The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) has published guidance to enable the digital sharing of medications information between care settings, which will help improve patient care and reduce medication errors across the NHS and social care.
Research estimates that there are 237 million medication errors in the UK each year and as many as five deaths each day from errors in prescribing, dispensing or monitoring medications use. Many of them occur when information is transferred on paper because critical prescribing information can’t be shared from one computer systems to another.
PRSB has worked with NHS England and NHS Digital to produce clear guidance for recording and sharing standardised computer-readable information between hospital, GP and community-based services. This will vastly reduce the current practice of sharing paper-based medicines information and re-keying it into computers which can lead to errors.
At the moment, hospitals, GPs and other community-based services use different methods of prescribing so that when a patient transfers from one setting to another, clinicians need to manually translate prescribing information to ensure the correct medicines, dosages and timings are identified and administered. Previous attempts to standardise and computerise this information failed because of the complexity and variety of prescribing methods, doses, timings and instructions.
Dose information has now been standardised for the most common uses. There is also guidance available for handling more complex cases. It sets out rules for translating medicines information between the different prescribing methods used in different care settings. The solution will support digital sharing of medications information, with clinicians still deciding when to use or record the information. The guidance covers the majority of medications, approximately 90%, with a few complex exceptions.