Standards in action: Pharmacy information standard improving care 

NHS Digital is using our pharmacy standard to roll out digital notifications that will inform GPs when one of their patients receives an urgent supply of medicine from a community pharmacy.

Sharing this information quickly and consistently means patient records are more up-to-date, and the people involved in their care are able to make better informed decisions. It also saves time by reducing manual processing and follow up requests for information. 

The two largest GP systems, EMIS web and TPP SystmOne, and pharmacy systems Pinnacle PharmOutcomes and Sonar Informatics, are now live and sharing information about emergency supply. 

This follows on from the successful sharing of flu vaccine information last year, which means that GPs can identify which patients have received a flu vaccination. Notifications are sent automatically from pharmacies and received by GP practices as a task in their clinical system. Some GP systems can receive structured information, which means details can be added directly to a patient’s record, without the need to transcribe them manually. Practices still receive the full details of the urgent supply in a PDF document so they can add any additional information to the record if necessary. 

Dr Masood Nazir, Director of Digital Primary Care at NHSX, said: “The urgent supply of medicines should be as straightforward as possible for patients, GP practice and pharmacy staff, particularly during the pandemic and as we look towards winter. 

“By sending notifications electronically, we will make life easier for the staff at local pharmacies and family doctors and increase safety for patients, which is arguably more important than ever – this is why we have commissioned NHS Digital to accelerate this important work.”  

More information, including user guidance and training materials, is available on the NHS Digital website. You can find the full standard on our website.

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