NHS Digital has commissioned a project to improve electronic information sharing from pharmacies, which will determine how information about services provided by community pharmacy to patients will be shared with other professionals working in health and social care.
The Professional Records Standards Body, the body which defines standards for care records, will work with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, and other pharmacy stakeholders to develop appropriate data standards so that information about community pharmacy services provided can be shared digitally.
At present, pharmacies must send any information regarding a person’s ongoing health and care, that they think should be included in the patient record, to the patient’s GP for it to be uploaded. That information may not be uploaded at all, or the correspondence may be uploaded as a pdf, so the details it contains, such as a flu vaccination being given, is not coded, searchable or easily readable.
Stephen Goundrey-Smith, pharmacist and adviser to the project, said: “We have the summary care record so at least pharmacy can now look at a medical record, but what we would like to do is to get to a point where we have an integrated communications system so that pharmacy can share data on interventions with the wider NHS. Obviously, initially that will be to the GP record.”
The project is still at the scoping stage so there is not yet a definitive list of the services provided in pharmacy about which information will be able to be shared, but it will include flu vaccinations, medicines use reviews and new medicine services, Goundrey-Smith said.
For each of these services, the project will determine which data pharmacists should be gathering and which data need to be transmitted to the GP record. The project will also look at the interoperability of systems and coding systems in order to make sharing of this data feasible.