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Patient care records can improve our practice

We provide advice and counselling to patients on a daily basis but these could be considered unsafe without an accurate patient history. Full patient care records are crucial to our practice.

Patient care records can be accessed by many healthcare professionals so they contain a broader view of patients’ medical histories. I believe this is the answer to safer practice. They have been designed to guarantee continuity of patient care and to enhance communication between health professionals but still their benefits are not fully understood by many.

Having a system where we can easily access patient histories will open opportunities to expand our professional practice. This will not only enable us to provide safer and better advice, but also improve communication between healthcare professionals in all sectors. That will allow us and other professionals to have a more comprehensive and reliable view of the patient health journey, from hospital admissions to GP appointments and from treatment plans to health check readings. In the future, we should be able to input important information as well, which is crucial for the assessment and treatment of patients.

It is all about providing safer pharmaceutical care in the community and freeing us from tasks in order to spend quality time with patients.

Patient care records will give us the opportunity to extend our professional practice towards managing patients with long-term conditions. They will also allow us to design optimal clinical management plans and achieve better treatment outcomes. This will be another step towards the recognition of pharmacist prescribers.

The future of pharmacy is changing fast. I would like to see patients booking their appointment with their designated local pharmacist for regular reviews and health checks; I would like to see pharmacists managing patients under agreed clinical management plans in the community; and I would like to see pharmacists designing clinical management plans for patients and managing their conditions independently. This will never be possible without access to patient care records in every pharmacy.

 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138185

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