A RESPONSE to the Scottish Government’s consultation, A Digital Strategy for Scotland 2017 and beyond, by 18 health organisations, representing more than 60,000 primary care clinicians in Scotland, has said that the strategy must enable improved records sharing across primary care to support better informed and safer decisions by practitioners and the people in their care.
The collective response outlines the urgent need to radically transform the digital infrastructure to support multidisciplinary healthcare services.
Examples of current issues that needed addressing included:
- Information on when a person is admitted to, or leaving hospital, is not always shared or available in timely manner which can lead to changes in care not being recorded, potentially resulting in errors.
- Out of hours GPs do not have access to the complete patient record, and are only able to view very limited information.
- New health and social care services such as hospital at home mean that GP held records may not contain all the relevant information on a person’s care.
- Non – medical prescribing has been increasing with a wider range of health professionals now qualifying as independent prescribers.
- Pharmacists working in community pharmacies have no direct access to information on patient allergies, medication history or an accurate diagnosis. Some medicines have more than one indication and dosages will differ for the different disease states.
- Secondary care records do not interlink with primary care or even with other hospital records when patients receive treatment in different areas across the country.
Read and write access to relevant information in patient health records would enable more informed and safer decisions to be made by practitioners and patients. It would minimise duplication along the patient journey, support system improvements in patient care and outcomes, including assessment, care and treatment, says the response document.
Alex MacKinnon, Director, Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland, said: “With today’s increasingly complex care it is now more important than ever that essential information is shared to enable efficient assessment, care and treatment wherever people are in our health care system. The examples provided from across all the professions demonstrate why the ‘Digital Strategy for Scotland 2017 and beyond’ needs to speed up the pace of change. With so many health and social professionals now involved in patient care we simply need to have a digital infrastructure that enables us to work as one team.”
Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland said “It is encouraging to be part of a primary care collaborative that includes so many health clinicians who are all calling for the same thing – access to a shared clinical record on a digital platform to allow us all to deliver safe and effective patient care. I don’t think any government can ignore such a collective call for action and change.”