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Software enables pharmacists to access GP records

EMIS Group is launching a platform called “pharmacy access” which taps into GP record

Source: TylerOlson/

Pharmacists will be able to access information such as current medicines, allergies and adverse drug reactions, and some test results

Community pharmacies in England will have access to patients’ GP records through an IT platform developed by one of the largest pharmacy software providers, Rx Systems.

“GP record viewer” will provide information on a patient’s current medicines, allergies and adverse drug reactions, and some medical test results including blood pressure and glomerular filtration rate. Both the GP and patient will need to provide explicit consent for the pharmacist to view the record.

The launch, in partnership with Numark Pharmacies, is the result of development at the healthcare systems provider, EMIS Group, to which Rx Systems belongs. It was created to enable the direct exchange of information between their EMIS Web (GP) and ProScript (pharmacy) systems. About 3,000 GP surgeries use EMIS Web and 2,500 community pharmacies use ProScript.

Pharmacists will use smartcards to access the GP record viewer, part of a wider EMIS system called “pharmacy access”. It features an application called “medicines manager”, which enables the pharmacy to electronically communicate with the GP surgery, to request a repeat prescription on behalf of the patient or to see an accurate and up-to-date record of the patient’s medicines.    

Ian Taylor, managing director at Rx Systems, says the software is designed to improve health care continuity. “We want to ensure that knowledge around a patient is shared. This is what community pharmacy aspires to but it is currently quite disjointed and so our software helps link up the whole system,” he says.

The pharmacy access software ensures that the community pharmacist is instrumental in managing a patient’s medicines. “If pharmacy only processes prescriptions, a time will come when something else can do that better,” Taylor warns.

Rx Systems is also launching a new app called “my local pharmacy”, which will allow patients to order repeat prescriptions. The app is exclusive to Numark until at least the end of 2014.

Patients can request their repeat medication directly from their chosen pharmacy via the app, which will also be recorded as an electronic prescription service (EPS) nomination, indicating the patient’s preferred pharmacy. The pharmacy then checks the repeat request with the GP surgery, which validates the request and sends an order back to the pharmacy.

Patients will only be able to configure their use of the app with one pharmacy, which, Taylor hopes, will mean people develop relationships with a particular pharmacy. The app can also remind patients to take their medication and the pharmacy can send messages about services it offers, for example flu vaccination or medicines use reviews.

Eventually, Rx Systems and EMIS would like to link hospital records to the system, by sending a discharge summary record to the community pharmacy, a process currently only enabled for GPs.

Taylor says: “This is just a stepping stone. I’d like pharmacy to be able to record and share interventions by appending to the patient record. Clinical commissioning groups are currently talking to EMIS about this”.

Numark pharmacies that have purchased the latest version of the Numark assist technology will be able to use the pharmacy access service free of charge. Other pharmacies will be charged a monthly subscription.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138787

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