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GPs to follow new digital standard for sending medicines and allergy information

by Emma Wilkinson
29 October 2021

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A new information standard has been developed for sharing digital information on medication and allergies across different parts of health and social care services.

The standard, which aims to reduce medicines errors comes into effect this month. NHS and social care organisations will have to show compliance by March 2023.

GP practices, hospitals, mental health trusts, pharmacists, community teams and residential care homes will all have to meet the standard when transferring medication and prescription information between teams.

The standard will be particularly helpful in reducing medication errors when patients transfer between care locations NHS Digital said.

Having specific requirements in place for how medicine and allergy information is transferred will also provide clinicians with a more detailed and consistent source of medicines related information across all care settings and allow them to obtain medicines information more quickly and efficiently, they added in a document outlining the changes

The standard defines how the send and receive messages involving medicines information are constructed, and how the data within is structured so that it is machine-readable when sent between different IT systems.

Dr Simon Eccles, deputy CEO of NHSX and national chief clinical information officer said:

‘This new standard will make medicine prescribing safer for patients and easier for clinicians, reducing errors in prescription and improving the monitoring of medications that can cause harm.

‘This is the result of a true collaborative effort between NHSX, NHS Digital, industry and the frontline that will make a real difference to the care and support local clinicians can provide to their patients.

Shahzad Ali NHS Digital clinical lead for the Interoperable Medicines Programme, added that as a practising clinician, he has seen first-hand problems caused when medicines information is incomplete or inconsistent. 

‘This new Standard will save healthcare professionals valuable time accessing key medicines information, provide clinicians with access to a richer source of information, consistent across all care settings, and, in turn, help reduce potential medicines related errors and improve patient safety.’

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.