NHS Digital has announced the national roll out of electronic notifications from pharmacies to GPs of flu jabs following the successful result of a pilot in Leeds.
It said the two system suppliers involved so far – PharmOutcomes and SystmOne – have now extended the availability of the service across England after a two-week trial that began in October.
Over that period, 2,500 messages were exchanged between 113 community pharmacies and 83 GP practices in Leeds.
Other suppliers are due to begin providing the service later this year.
Traditionally, pharmacies have informed GPs about vaccinations by email, fax or post. Under the pilot, practices will still receive PDF notifications as well as their systems being updated automatically.
Vishen Ramkisson, senior clinical lead at NHS Digital, said: “This is a valuable enhancement which helps ensure the information in patients’ medical records is comprehensive and up to date. Services which make it easier for health professionals to share critical information, such as about whether a vaccination has been given, enable them to provide the best care possible to patients.”
The content of the notifications is based on the pharmacy information flows standard developed by NHS Digital with the Professional Records Standards Body, clinicians and other key stakeholders.
The way pharmacists record flu vaccinations in PharmOutcomes will not change, with the system checking whether the patient’s GP practice can review the new message type before sending it. If the practice cannot receive an electronic notification the system will automatically revert to the existing process.
For SystmOne GPs will still receive full details of the vaccination in a PDF documents and can add additional information manually.
Image of NHS staff receiving flu jabs: NHS Employers under a Creative Commons licence