Community pharmacies’ access to shared patient records is ‘not a priority’

Community pharmacy access to shared patient records is not a priority in the initial phase of its development, the Department of Health and Care (DHSC) said.

On February 9, 2022, the DHSC published a white paper, ‘Connecting care to people, places and populations‘, which presented its proposals for the integration of health and care, at the center of which was a new objective for each integrated care system (ICS) to establish a “shared care record” accessible by health care providers. adult health and social care by 2024.

“Basic shared care records are now in place in all but one SCI,” the proposal document states. “However, we need to ensure that shared care records cover the whole of a person’s life and include both health and care, which they currently do not.

“Each ICS will need to ensure that all constituent organizations have a basic level of digital capabilities and are connected to a shared care record by 2024 enabling individuals, their approved caregivers and their care team to consult and contribute to the dossier,” he added.

However, at the request of The Pharmaceutical Journal though all community pharmacy teams can expect to have access to shared care records by 2024 under these plans, DHSC said: “The initial phase of the shared care records program has been to give priority access for general practitioners and trusts.

“The potential is that many different healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, will be able to access shared care records; however, the addition of new partners is likely to be influenced by local priorities across the country.

The government’s comments come after the “NHS Long Term Plan”released in 2019, committed to moving the Summary Care Record (SCR) “functionality” into local health and care records by 2023.

CRSs, which contain important patient information such as current medications and allergies, are currently available to community pharmacies.

The DHSC said the Local Health and Care Records Program was replaced by the Shared Care Records Program in early 2021 and confirmed that “no current records will be retired until another capability is would not have been implemented”.

A spokesperson for the National Pharmacy Association said community pharmacies’ access to shared care records “will help enable efficient and comprehensive patient care.”

“We need a network of local and national health and care records where the inclusion of community pharmacy is normalized, even mandatory,” they added.

Thorrun Govind, Chairman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board, said: “We have welcomed discussions with NHSX and NHS England on their digital strategy over the past year and there was a clear commitment to enable community pharmacists to update a shared care record.

“Successive ministers have expressed their support and we continue to push for full read-write access to health records for all health and social care teams, so there must be a renewed will for this to happen. .”

Daniel Ah-Thion, head of IT policy on the pharmaceutical services bargaining committee, said that “while it is disappointing that pharmacy access to these records is not a priority contained in the recent white paper, locally, many ICS want to work with the industry to open up access as new registration systems are put in place”.

“We are also working with NHSX and the Community Pharmacy IT Group to support the development of guidance for ICS and others on how to open access to shared care records to pharmacy teams,” he said. declared.

Read more: What Community Pharmacy Access to Shared Medical and Social Records Could Mean for Patient Care

What are Shared Care Records?

AT Community Pharmacy IT Group meeting held in July 2021John Farenden, senior program manager at NHSX – the digital arm of the NHS – said the terms ‘shared care record’ and ‘local health and care record’ ‘can be used interchangeably’ as the terminology has changed during the covid19 pandemic.

The Local Health and Care Records Program launched in 2018with government funding of £7.5 million allocated to five regions to set up record sharing systems, including Thames Valley, London, Wessex, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire and Humberside.

The community pharmacies of at least two of these areas currently have access to shared recordings.

For example, since 2020, pharmacy teams in Dorset and east london were able to access information about why a medicine was prescribed, if medicines changed and access blood pressure results via a care record shared with hospitals, GPs and local authorities.

The Pharmaceutical Services Bargaining Committee said that shared care records could also include information about medications, allergies, adverse reactions, reasons for medication, vaccinations, important diagnoses, important procedures, and end-of-life care information.

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