Reducing errors and improving standards of care for patients

Sharing information on patient medications with community pharmacists after hospital discharge is helping to improve care, according to NHS Wales Informatics Service.

Following the implementation of the e-discharge summary standard, many hospitals are sharing specific discharge information on medications with community pharmacists, provided they have the patient’s permission.

This means that pharmacists can have access to information on a patient’s discharge medication to reconcile with their GP’s prescription and resolve any issues with the treatment after they have been discharged from hospital. In Wales, the number of differences between medication at discharge and that prescribed by GPs have been found to be consistently around 16%, according to data collected from community pharmacists providing the discharge medicines review service.

Flagging differences quickly is reducing errors and improving the overall safety of care for patients. Pharmacists are able to answer questions about medication and ensure that patients are taking them properly. This has improved communication between the pharmacy and the hospital.

The information sharing is part of a wider initiative called Choose Pharmacy, which is also indicating a reduction in out of hours appointments for emergency repeat prescriptions, and aims to establish community pharmacies as the first port of call for common ailments.

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