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320 pharmacies to get read-write record access by end of summer

Hemant Patel: With read-write access to the ePLR we can improve patient outcomes
Hemant Patel: With read-write access to the ePLR we can improve patient outcomes

Software to allow pharmacists read-write access to patient records could be installed in 320 pharmacies in north-east London by the end of summer.

The East London Patient Record (ePLR) currently covers a population of almost 1.5 million people in the east London area, and is shared between four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), five acute hospital sites, a mental health trust, three community services and almost 200 GP practices.

At a meeting last week (March 14), it was agreed that 320 community pharmacies in north-east London would be granted access to read and write onto the record, the consortium of health and care service providers in the area, led by Barts Health NHS Trust, said in a statement.

Hemant Patel, secretary of north-east London local pharmaceutical committee (LPC), told C+D the software has been developed locally and is funded by the NHS.

“This is about connecting local pharmacies with surgeries, hospitals and mental health clinics. If we can ensure that data flows from one setting to another, we can improve patient outcomes and personalise care as we never have before,” he told C+D this morning (March 18).

“That we have full access to patient records is a big development, and the fact that data can be shared in both directions is unique,” he added.

The consortium said the ePLR is underpinned by three key principles: to “develop a single system approach to information sharing”; “ensure information given to any health or care professional is recorded properly and shared safely, so that patients do not have to keep telling people the same thing time and again”; and to “make the best use of data” for improvements in patient care.

Mr Patel said giving pharmacists read-write access to patient records is “part of [the LPC’s] vision for a digital health service, where data sharing will improve interventions, help us assess whether medicines are working or not and lead to a better understanding of a patient’s symptoms”.

“Everyone is on board with this and we had the backing of local GPs and hospitals. In fact, one doctor told me: ‘I can’t understand why it hasn’t happened already’,” he added.

Mr Patel hopes read-write access will eventually be rolled out to pharmacies across the UK.

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