UK first: pharmacists go live with GP record access

29 May 2014

EMIS Group, the UK leader in connected healthcare software and services, has announced a major step forward in joined-up healthcare.

In a UK first, community pharmacists are now able to access information from the GP record to support safer dispensing.

New software is now available to pharmacists in more than 2,500 pharmacies across England that will enable them to securely access key clinical information from more than 3,300 GPs’ electronic medical records, with patient consent.

They will be able to view medication, allergies and other data to assist with dispensing. The software will also facilitate advanced and enhanced services such as Medicines Use Reviews and the New Medicines Service – for example, information on INRs, blood pressure and lithium monitoring.

It is the result of extensive work between leading healthcare systems providers EMIS and Rx Systems – both part of EMIS Group – to enable the direct exchange of information between their EMIS Web (GP) and ProScript (pharmacy) systems. The development, eagerly anticipated by the pharmacy profession, is a milestone in the EMIS Group’s strategy to support better integration of healthcare across the NHS.

Dr Farzana Hussain, partner at the Project Surgery in Plaistow, East London has been using the software for six months. She said: “I am a great fan. It has vastly improved communication between GPs and local pharmacists, and care for patients with long term conditions.

“With repeat dispensing under electronic prescribing, we can give patients six months’ supply of medication at a time. The pharmacists let us know if they are not picking it up, and we can call patients in and deal with adherence problems. For example, we are trying to cut down on unscheduled hospital admissions for asthma patients. Pharmacists can gauge whether preventative treatment needs to be stepped up by the number of treatment inhalers the patient is requesting.”

Jignesh Patel, pharmacist at nearby Rohpharm community pharmacy who was involved in piloting the software said: “The software is brilliant for ordering and tracking repeat prescriptions seamlessly and electronically, with a full audit process.”

Chris Spencer, chief executive of EMIS Group, said: “In the future we will look to further extend and push back the boundaries of system integration and interoperability throughout the EMIS Group. For example, we are working on connecting Rx Systems’ community pharmacy software to Ascribe’s acute care systems for medicines summary exchange.”

The new GP record viewer software was successfully piloted in 2013. It incorporates robust protocols to protect patient confidentiality. Patients must provide documented consent before the pharmacist can view their GP record. Access to the GP record within the pharmacy is governed by highly-secure role-based access controls enforced by NHS SmartCards.

The record viewer software is part of a wider package of software for ProScript, including Medicines Manager, which allows ProScript pharmacies to securely send repeat prescription requests to GP practices via EMIS Web.

In addition, patients will be able to download a new app to order repeat prescriptions directly with their nominated pharmacy – supporting pharmacists in delivering the electronic prescriptions service.