Information management and technology

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Information Technology underpins and supports the delivery of pharmacy services across all sectors of pharmacy.

Effective and robust IT systems...

  • Have a positive impact on patient safety, by reducing medication errors.
  • Enable interoperability between systems and so facilitate consistency and quality of care within the wider NHS.
  • Promote efficient service delivery and therefore are vital to the future development of new clinical roles for pharmacists.

The Society is committed to ensuring that these systems are developed in the most appropriate way which will help secure the future requirements of pharmacists in their day to day practice throughout the UK. We recognise that there are differences in IT systems across England, Scotland and Wales and will work with members, governments and stakeholders to ensure that what is being developed fulfils the needs and aspirations of the membership in each country.

Providing a robust electronic evidence base of the valuable and important role that pharmacists play in the care of patients is vitally important for the development and promotion of new clinical roles for pharmacists in the future.

We will champion the appropriate use of Information Management and Technology as an important enabler in helping the NHS to meet the increasing demand for services by making better use of pharmacists’ skills to help patients.

Areas where we will be actively working to promote and support pharmacy professionals include:

Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) position statement

The English Pharmacy Board (EPB) has established an English IM&T expert working group across all sectors of pharmacy. This group has helped to develop an IM&T workplan for England and the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is part of this workplan.

The RPS fully supports the implementation of EPS in England and we recommend the use and uptake of this service to our members.

We are aware that there are some significant practical issues with EPS Release 2, particularly as pharmacists are currently operating dual systems. We are working with Department of Health (DH) and the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and system suppliers to address these. The RPS will be working with other pharmacy organisations as well as end users to ensure that nationally, pharmacists receive a consistent and efficient service. We intend to set professional standards (for example, minimum data sets) and promote interoperability between systems wherever possible.

The RPS hopes that EPS is the first step in a more integrated IT system for patients. The RPS wholeheartedly supports the NHS Future Forum recommendation that every individual should own their own patient record, and be able to share it as they wish. All care records should be electronic and accessible at the point of care throughout the whole care journey, regardless of sector or provider. In the "new world" of "any qualified provider", access to electronic health records (EHR) must be granted on the basis of patient need and service delivery, rather than professional status. It will be a huge barrier to both integration and innovation of care if EHR access is not granted on this basis and the RPS will continue to lobby on this issue, and monitor the progress of current initiatives.

This forum provides an area for discussion of issues, experiences and debate about systems and the ways in which they can be improved. We would like to hear your views on EPS Release 2 and your experiences to date, both good and bad.