New computer software that allows community pharmacists to write to the patient record and see a full history of medication and diagnostic results is being heralded a “game changer”.
EMIS Web for Pharmacy is being piloted by a community pharmacy in Newham, East London and a local GP practice for the care of patients with latent tuberculosis.
Jignesh Patel, a pharmacist from Rohpharm Pharmacy, said the system was transforming the quality of care he can offer patients, and he was already using the system for the management of other conditions including respiratory care.
He told The Pharmaceutical Journal: “This is definitely a game changer. I’ve seen the difference in my practice. I can write to the record and it gives me more detailed information about the patient.
“I can see investigation results, full summary of patient medication and a history of diagnostics. It’s not total access to the record because I can’t see the written GP consultation.
“But I have access to a full audit trail in terms of diagnostics and bloods and investigations and follow-ups for anything. This is a significant step forward, it makes a huge difference in my patient care.”
In the past he said he would have had to rely on information from the patient or faxed test or other investigation results from the GP: “Now I have instant access to that information … and the GP can see what I have written in the record. This is the way forward if the community pharmacist is to take on a bigger role in clinical services because it gives us more access to information, and being able to write in the record we can complete the full patient picture.”
Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, agreed the software was something the profession had been campaigning for.
“This is what we have been waiting for. I just hope it can be adopted more widely — it will transform pharmacy generally but community pharmacy specifically,” she said.
“I don’t think [having access to] the GP consultation in itself is that important, and I think that will always be the last thing to be shared as it’s like a confessional for some people. One step at a time.”
The software company said the product could potentially be used for the management of other conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and HIV.
Shanel Raichura, general manager of community pharmacy at EMIS Health, said: “For the first time the technology is available to support the pharmacy profession in its goal of providing new and enhanced clinical services beyond dispensing.”
He added: “For the wider NHS, it offers a practical way to reduce pressure on a stretched primary care system by enabling commissioners to take a more serious view of what community pharmacy can provide.”
Details of the new software have emerged just months after Steve Brine, health minister, backed NHS England’s plans to give community pharmacists full read/write access to patient primary care records.
He said before Christmas that he wanted that to happen “as soon as possible”, but admitted it was a “complex process with a number of challenges” such as the completion of standardised datasets.
“Our aspiration is that a pharmacist working in any clinical setting will be able to record information in such a way that it can be seen by anyone providing primary medical care,” he said at the time.