New guidance has been published to support the digital sharing of medication information between different settings in health and social care.
The Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB), which works on the standards for care records, has produced the guidance with the aim of making it easier for different bodies to share details of medication for individual patients.
It said the guidance covers approximately 90% of prescriptions with a few exceptions due to their complexity.
Currently, hospitals, GPs and other services use different methods for prescribing. Subsequently, the details have to be manually translated when a patient transfers from one setting to another.
Variety and complexity
Previous attempts to standardise dose information have failed because of the variety and complexity in the process, but the PRSB has developed the new approach from a consultation with clinicians and people who will be using the news standards.
They include technical guidance from NHS Digital which draws on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources and INTEROPen standards and the NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices.
There is also an updated medications and medical devices information model, and non-technical guidance on issues including patient safety, dose calculation and secondary uses.
Initial testing is now taking place at a number of pilot sites, and the standards will be updated to include a new medications model.
Professor Maureen Baker, chair of the PRSB, commented: “Improving medicines information sharing by computerising processes and replacing paper based ones that were prone to errors is a significant achievement. Thanks to the combined efforts of NHS England, NHS Digital and the PRSB, prescribing for patients should be safer, more efficient and fewer medicines will be wasted.”
NHS Digital welcome
The publication was welcomed by NHS Digital, whose director of primary care technology, Nic Fox, said it will support the digital modernisation of GP practices, and pointed towards the future publication of the GP IT Futures Framework.
“Practices need systems that are modern, resilient, support efficient working, and are truly interoperable,” he said.
“The GP IT Futures framework which will be available from later this year will put in place standards that will greatly improve the seamless sharing of patient information between care setting, which will free up valuable clinical time for patient care and ensure that critical information is available to clinicians.
“It will provide general practice with a real choice of systems and make switching, or adding new digital products to their existing estates, more simple.”
Image by Zaldylmg, CC BY 2.0 through flickr