The first stage of a new standard that defines the clinical information which should be shared between community pharmacies and GP practices was published on 31 October, in order to support the delivery of better integrated care for patients.
Community pharmacies play an essential role in providing services to people to keep them well, such as offering vaccinations, medication and appliance reviews, and support with minor illnesses. It is essential that the information about care provided in community pharmacies is recorded in digital care records which can then be shared with GPs and other professionals in a timely manner.
Improving information sharing between community pharmacies and GP practices should help to reduce medication errors, improve patient safety and reduce administrative work for busy staff. Over time it should help eliminate the use of paper templates.
The first stage of the standard, published by the Professional Record Standards Body, details what information should be recorded about vaccinations that have been administered and emergency medicines supplied by community pharmacies. It will also provide high-quality data for service planning, commissioning and public health initiatives.
“Pharmacists are offering an increased range of services,” said Stephen Goundrey-Smith, Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s advisor to the PRSB and a clinical lead on the project. “As such, it will become increasingly important for pharmacists to share vital information about patient care with GPs. By doing this digitally, we can ensure that care professionals have timely access to relevant information, leading to better, safer and more personalised care. This sharing of data will also demonstrate the value of pharmacists’ professional input into patient care.”
Dr Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead for Medicines and Pharmacy at NHS Digital, said: “The data standard is the first step towards ensuring relevant information about services provided by community pharmacies can be shared digitally with other health professionals so that patients’ health records are complete and comprehensive.
“Ensuring IT systems across the NHS can securely share information in a common language is key to this, and we hope that GP and pharmacy IT suppliers choose to develop their systems to use this new standard.”