GP practices and pharmacies will be able to share patients’ data more easily thanks to a new standard, NHS Digital has said.
The standard will be incorporated into the clinical systems that pharmacies and practices use from next year, allowing community pharmacists to share information digitally with GP practices.
For the first stage of the standard, pharmacists will be able to communicate information collected on patients when they provide services such as vaccinations, medications and guidance with minor ailments.
For instance, pharmacists will digitally notify the patient’s GP practice when they get their vaccination from them.
The first part of the standard was developed by NHS Digital, the Professional Record Standards Body, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Royal College of General Practitioners. It points out the type of information practices should record about vaccinations administered and emergency medicines supplied by community pharmacies.
According to NHS Digital, the standard will homogenize vaccination information, thus improving the quality of data for service planning, commissioning organisations and public health programmes.
Dr 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.’
An NHS Digital spokesperson told Management in Practice that clinical system suppliers are not obliged to follow the standard but at present NHS Digital is working with both pharmacist and GP clinical system suppliers to implement the standard in their systems.
A first pilot stage will start next year and NHS Digital expects to rollout the standard by the end of 2019.