Pharmacy professionals will use genomic data as a matter of course within the next decade, according to a new vision for the future of pharmacy in England, developed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the King’s Fund.
The vision, published on 14 December 2022, says: “In ten years, patients can opt to have genotyping, capture panel or their whole genome sequenced and stored securely in their electronic health record.”
This data will be used to offer tailored treatment — with the patient’s consent.
The document also predicts that pharmacists will advise other prescribers on medicine–gene interactions and co-lead on genomic medicines service implementation and research.
The vision, which was developed with input from pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and patients, sets out how the future of pharmacy in England could look, with pharmacy teams becoming more integrated into local systems, such as integrated care systems (ICSs) and multidisciplinary teams, as well as helping patients receive more personalised care in the most accessible location for them.
It also highlights what is needed to achieve this future, including collecting more workforce data; a greater use of digital tools for targeted population and personal health; and developing and supporting pharmacy professionals to become local leaders.
The vision places an emphasis on pharmacy’s role in reducing health inequalities, working with ICSs and proactively using their role as community leaders to “build high quality, trust-based relationships over time”.
The document also emphasises that mental health should be regarded with the same importance as physical health. “In ten years, people getting care from pharmacy teams in any setting … see staff with a core level of training in mental health, ensuring that their mental health needs are treated with equal priority to any physical health problems.”
It also predicts that virtual wards will be commonplace in ten years, “with people previously treated in hospital being treated at home for acute care and chronic conditions”.
“Community trusts, hospitals and primary care teams will work together with social care to enable seamless services to be delivered.”
Under the subhead ‘How we see professional practice in ten years’, the vision says: “People own their clinical records and share them with pharmacy teams who have read write access into one, shared, real time electronic health record.”
Thorrun Govind, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said: “Implementation of the vision will unlock the potential of pharmacy across the hospital sector, general practice, community pharmacy, industry and academia.
“Integrated care systems will be crucial to making this happen, enabling the integration of pharmacy with the wider health and care system at a scale which could make a real difference for patients.
“We want this vision to help drive collaboration, delivering the changes that need to happen now and overcoming barriers to maximise the potential of pharmacy to improve patient care in the future.”
Richard Murray, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said there was “significant potential for pharmacy teams to deliver person-centred care that enhances patient experience and access to care”.
“Realising that potential will rest on developing the pharmacy profession, utilising data to personalise care, and pharmacy leaders taking a collaborative approach to leadership as they increasingly work across health and care systems,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of the vision, David Webb, chief pharmaceutical officer for England, said: “[The vision document] highlights how much we’re already achieving by working together across systems, and that this will need to go further if we’re to deliver our potential as pharmacists and pharmacy technicians within the NHS and ensure we provide satisfying and varied careers for future professionals.
“The need to work together to achieve all that we want to see is a fundamental priority that we should all embrace. And I anticipate that the UK Commission on Pharmacy Professional Leadership will emphasise the importance of collaboration, cohesion and consistency,” he added.