News, Secondary Care

New pharmacy standard now complete

A new standard to improve information sharing between community pharmacies and GP practices is now complete, the Professional Record Standards Body has announced.

The new standard of a two-part standard, defines the information shared in a standardised way so that information can be shared between different systems more easily.

NHS Digital last year used the first part of the standard to develop message definitions using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) – a standard for the digital exchange of healthcare information. NHS Digital will now develop the second stage of the standard into FHIR message definitions to allow IT system suppliers to include the additional pharmacy services.

The aim is to reduce medication errors, ensure that information on pharmacy services is appropriately transmitted to other healthcare providers and reduce administrative work for busy staff. PRSB said ‘over time it should help to eliminate the use of paper templates’.

The second stage covers medication reviews which support patients to take medications in the right way and prevent medicine-related problems, appliance use review, new medicine services, digital minor illness referral scheme and hospital discharge summaries to community pharmacy.

Stephen Goundrey-Smith, Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s advisor to the PRSB and a clinical lead on the project, said: “We are pleased that the pharmacy information flows standard is now complete, so that community pharmacists can start sharing vital information with GPs. Once it’s put into practice, we expect this to support better, safer and more personalised care, and to demonstrate the valuable services that pharmacy professionals provide.”

Dr Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead for Medicines and Pharmacy at NHS Digital, said: “The first part of this data standard, along with the corresponding FHIR message definitions (which are technical standards to support the digital transfer of information), was published in October last year. Already, pharmacy and GP system suppliers are working hard to develop their systems to send and receive these standardised messages. We are looking forward to starting to see this initial part of the standard used in practice ahead of winter 2019/20. We hope that GP and pharmacy IT suppliers will continue to develop against the next set of FHIR message definitions once they are available.”