New Information Standard published to support medicines information sharing

NHS Digital has published a new Information Standard on medicines information sharing, with the aim of helping to reduce errors and increase safety when patients transfer between care locations.

The Standard, which ‘sets out definitions that are to be used when a health professional sends or receives patient medication and allergy/intolerance information’, hopes to improve information sharing of this type across England.

Commissioned by NHSX, the Standard is for use when sending medicines information by computer, between healthcare settings, to ensure data is transferred in a machine-readable format.

As well as standardising medication message content, it’s hoped it will make sharing more efficient between NHS and social care organisations, for example when primary and secondary care setting such as hospitals and GP practices send information to residential care homes, mental health trusts, and pharmacies.

Developed by NHSX and NHS Digital, the new Standard was created in consultation with a range of other relevant organisations, such as INTEROPen, The Professional Record Standards Body, UK FHIR, and The Interoperable Medicine Standards Working Group.

The Standard has already come into effect and organisations are expected to become compliant by 31 March 2023. This will involve using a ‘usage of dose syntax to transfer the amount of medication per dose as a simple coded quantity’, ‘transferring allergy/intolerance information using SNOMED CT and dm+d codes’, and by ‘transferring medication information using the newest UK version of FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource)’ through either a ‘Medication Codable Concept’ or ‘Medication Resource’.

Dr Simon Eccles, Deputy CEO of NHSX and National Chief Clinical Information Officer, said of the development:“This new Standard will make medicine prescribing safer for patients and easier for clinicians, reducing errors in prescription and improving the monitoring of medications that can cause harm.

“This is the result of a true collaborative effort between NHSX, NHS Digital, industry and the frontline that will make a real difference to the care and support local clinicians can provide to their patients.”

Shahzad Ali, NHS Digital Clinical Lead for the Interoperable Medicines Programme, added: “This new Standard will save healthcare professionals valuable time accessing key medicines information, provide clinicians with access to a richer source of information, consistent across all care settings, and, in turn, help reduce potential medicines related errors and improve patient safety.”

View details of the new Information Standard, here.