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Access to patient records could improve care, study finds

Practice Pharmacists’ access to electronic patient records could improve patient safety, as well as enhance community pharmacy services and the profession, a study published in Pharmacy Management has found.

Pharmacists' access to electronic patient records could improve patient safety, as well as enhance community pharmacy services and the profession, a study published in Pharmacy Management has found.

"Electronic access to clinical data could, and should, lead to speeding up the process of changing the emphasis on the pharmacist's work from being prescription centred to a more clinical focus", said the study, published last week (October 16).

One pharmacist said hospital records would not be a panacea for struggling pharmacists

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The review of Wales' discharge medicines review (DMR) service looked at hospital pharmacies in Wales run on similar lines to community pharmacies.

The pharmacies have access to hospital patient records through an NHS database, allowing pharmacists to have patient data – including their procedures, admissions and discharge dates – on hand during a DMR consultation. 

Electronic access to more clinical data had "improved services" by "improving patient safety and helping monitor patient outcomes, thus improving patient care", said John Dicomidis, senior pharmacy manager at Tredegar and Blaenavon Health Centre Pharmacies, Wales.

And, although the MUR service did not extend to clinical review, a patient's electronic record would be "an asset" during an "enhanced" MUR service, he said.

"It could also enhance the professional standing of community pharmacy by forcing pharmacists to start making appointments with patients rather than ‘dragging them over the counter', as happens with most MUR patients at present," he added.

Mr Dicomidis warned that having access to hospital patient records "will not be a panacea" for community pharmacists who are "struggling to fulfil their current workload".

He also pointed out that "IT and process issues" needed to be addressed before electronic patient records were accessible to all community pharmacists.

A spokesperson for Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) told C+D there were "many occasions" when it would be useful for pharmacists to have access to patient records.

Pharmacy bodies last week called for greater access to patient data following news that patients will be able to view their medical records online from 2015.


How would access to patient records be of benefit in your pharmacy?

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1 Comments

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I think that this is a great study and any enhancement in the MUR is welcome. However do not underestimate the value of having patients on site in the pharmacy as start making appointments has its own issues as in GPs where DNAs can be from 25 to 40% in some parts of England and Wales for clinic appointments.

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