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Medicines interoperability

Enabling the seamless exchange of information about patient medications, allergies, intolerances and prescriptions across all NHS clinical IT systems will improve safety and efficiency, allow staff to focus on care and provide patients with a better experience.

What is medicines interoperability

Medicines Interoperability means that information about a patient’s medications, allergies, intolerances and prescriptions can be shared in a useable way between different IT systems wherever a patient receives care without the need to manually transcribe it.

This will give patients a better experience, improve safety and will save time for health and care staff.

In 2022 the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) set targets for integrated care systems (ICS) to set up ‘Shared Care Records’ (ShCR) that can be accessed by health and adult social care staff in different settings by 2024.

More information can be found in the Introduction to Medicines Interoperability.

Why medicines interoperability 

Information about the medicines a patient takes and any allergies a patient has are a core component of their medical record. It is very important that this information is shared accurately between care providers so that people receive safe and effective treatment wherever they receive care.  

Patients are often asked the same questions at different care settings they attend including, what medicines you take, what you take them for, how much you take, and whether you have any allergies.

This information is usually stored in their general practice (GP) record, along with key information about any treatment they receive at other care services.  

In England, some of this information can be viewed by health and care staff when they need to see it in other care settings through Summary Care Records (SCR). But staff have to manually enter this information into their own IT systems when they need it to deliver care.   

Manually transferring this information between IT systems wastes millions of hours of staff time each year. And each time information is entered manually there is an opportunity for an error to occur. This can be dangerous and can even result in harm to a patient.

Specific medicines interoperability services

There are some methods of transferring medicine information between systems that exist as their service within NHS Digital. More information on these services can be found on their own webpages.

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) sends electronic prescriptions from prescribers to community pharmacies and appliance suppliers.

GP Connect allows authorised clinical staff to share and view GP practice clinical information and data between IT systems, quickly and efficiently. 




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Last edited: 19 February 2024 11:52 am