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How to overcome your patient records reluctance

"It takes just 90 seconds to access a patient’s record with their permission"

The first in C+D’s three-part series on lessons learned at this year's Pharmacy Show

Despite a national rollout, it is clear that pharmacies in England have been slow to make full use of the summary care record (SCR).

Speaking at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham on Monday (September 26), NHS England’s assistant head of primary care Jill Loader even lamented the low level of SCR views, around “once a month” per pharmacy, she estimated.
But NHS Digital’s SCR national training manager Andy Oliver tried to help delegates overcome their reluctance towards records access, by highlighting that “as long as you have a privacy officer, or an information governance officer to double check and protect the patient’s data”, then using SCR could bring real benefits.
And for anyone confused about what a privacy officer actually does: “It’s just a role on a smartcard.”
“You don’t have to be a registered pharmacist to be a privacy officer,” he pointed out. In fact, it can be anyone employed by the pharmacy – counter assistant, regular locum, admin assistant – he said. The process of checking that SCR access is legitimate is made “really easy” by an alert system, which can be checked on a “regular basis”, rather than every day.
“This isn’t me sitting in my ivory towers in Leeds, mandating what you do,” he told pharmacists. “But whatever it is you decide, put it in your standard operating procedure, and make sure everyone knows about it.” 
“It takes just 90 seconds to access a patient’s record with their permission…and [the system] is designed to increase efficiencies across community pharmacy,” he stressed.
Leaflets provided at the session show that NHS Digital is working on further developments to the record, including adding additional patient information and extending access to a greater range of “healthcare professionals and staff”.

Read parts two and three in C+D's series on the Pharmacy Show here.

Have you overcome reluctance and started accessing patient records?

Chris Mckendrick, Community pharmacist

I'm not reluctant to access the SCR, I just haven't had a reason to. It's just a tool like the BNF or the EPS prescription tracker. Trust pharmacists to use their own judgement.

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