Health professionals call for shared patient records

Written by Tom Freeman on 13 January 2017 in News

Eighteen health bodies call for digital infrastructure to support data sharing in primary care

Patient records - credit Medill DC

Health professionals in primary care need to share more information on patients, according to a number of professional bodies in Scotland.

Currently nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals have little access to information about their patients held by the family doctor.

In a joint response to a Scottish Government consultation on its digital health strategy, 18 organisations representing over 60,000 clinicians in Scotland said sharing more information would make primary care safer and more integrated.


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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Optometry Scotland, Community Pharmacy Scotland, the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland and 12 bodies representing Allied Health Professionals said digital infrastructure was needed to support them to work as a team.

RPS director Alex MacKinnon 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.”

RCGP Scotland chair Dr Miles Mack said public confidence would need to be taken into account.

“People need to be confident that their health records are safe and confidential. However, they also want to know that those involved in their care have all the necessary information to provide the best care and keep them safe,” he said.

Theresa Fyffe, director of the RCN in Scotland, said: “All healthcare professionals routinely record important information about an individual’s care, which could often be either useful or even crucial to other health or social care professionals involved in their care.

“However, often this information is held in separate systems and cannot easily be shared. Information on when a person is admitted to or leaving hospital is not always shared or available in a timely manner, which can lead to changes in care not being recorded.

“This has implications particularly for frail older people or people with complex care needs who are at risk of re-admission to hospital.”

Data sharing also formed part of a shared vision for primary care by the same group of professional bodies published last year. (link)

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