Pharmacist access to medical records

I am a great advocate for community pharmacy to have access to medical records and will always continue to be. The EPIC program in Brighton (one of the PM challenge fund bids) was an early adopter and 19 community pharmacies have unique partnerships with their local practices and have full read write access. This has been ongoing for a few years and clearly shows that the will and the technology is already here.

It is essential to community pharmacists contracted to provide medication reviews face to face in their pharmacy. If this is the way to go – and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be – then I will keep advocating full access in partnership with General Practice and within a commissioned service.

I am an advocate of the shared medical record. Naturally, noting the limitations in contents and that it will only provide a solution in a few situations. But it is progress and it is helpful so I applaud the progress to country wide implementation. Well done.

However, I do feel that for many situations access is not required and am often disappointed that lack of access can be seen as an excuse to progress or even doing the right thing. Perhaps there is a culture of checking. It amuses me having spent years in hospital pharmacy practice trying to stop pharmacists wasting time looking through notes when I wanted them engaging with patients at the bedside.

As a community pharmacist, I have a prescription – I have a presumptive diagnosis – and I have the patient in front of me – so what is stopping community pharmacy getting stuck in to sort out patient healthcare needs?

I asked members of my local LPC what they think would happen if I walked into a pharmacy, asked for the pharmacist and simply said – “I am a diabetic”. They looked at each other and shrugged – so I tried it. And just as predicted I got a look of incredulity – I could see the phrase “so” forming in their minds. One did ask me what medicines I was taking – and I looked back forming an expression saying “so what”.

There is a significance when you can identify a patient, attribute a diagnosis and deliver parcels of care directed to their explored and agreed specific needs. It is called proactive clinical community pharmacy practice. None of this needs access to medical records, although I agree it would be nice in a few situations.

What more do you need other than a diagnosis, a prescription and a patient in front of you to get stuck in and help people?




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