New standard to improve information sharing

NHS Digital has published a new standard that will improve sharing clinical information between community pharmacies and GP practices.

Improving the way that community pharmacies and GP practices share data is expected to cut medication errors, improve patient safety and reduce administrative work for staff. This will allow information that community pharmacists gather from patients to be shared digitally with patients’ GPs.

The first part of the standard, which has been developed by NHS Digital, the Professional Record Standards Body and other partners, details what information should be recorded about vaccinations administered and emergency medicines supplied by community pharmacies. Alongside supporting better care in the community, the standard will provide high-quality data for service planning, commissioning organisations and public health programmes by standardising vaccination information.

Stephen Goundrey-Smith, PRSB advisory board member for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “Pharmacists are offering an increased range of services. As these services expand further, it will become increasingly important for pharmacists to share vital information about patient care with GP. 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.”

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.”

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