Community Pharmacy: an untapped patient data resource

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As community pharmacy services become more patient centred they will be increasingly reliant on access to good quality patient information. This paper describes how the information which is currently available in community pharmacies can be used to enhance service delivery and patient care. With integration of community pharmacy and medical practice records on the horizon the opportunities this will provide are also considered.

The community pharmacy held patient medication record, which is the central information repository, has been used to identify non-adherence, to prompt the pharmacist to clinically review prescriptions, identify patients for additional services and to identify those patients at greater risk of adverse drug events.

Whilst active recording of patient consultations for treatment over the counter may improve the quality of consultations and information held, the lost benefits of anonymity afforded by community pharmacies needs to be considered. Recording of pharmacy staff activities enables workload to be monitored, remuneration to be justified and critical incidents to be learned from but is not routine practice.

Centralisation of records between community pharmacies enables practices to be compared and consistent problems to be identified. By integrating pharmacy and medical practice records, patient behaviour with respect to medicines can be more closely monitored and should prevent duplication of effort.

When using patient information stored in a community pharmacy it is however important to consider the reason why information was recorded in the first instance and whether it is appropriate to use it for a different purpose without additional patient consent.

Community pharmacies currently have access to large amounts of information which if stored and used appropriately can significantly enhance the quality of provided services and patient care. Integrating records increases opportunities to enhance patient care yet further. Whilst community pharmacies have significant amounts of information available to them this is frequently untapped.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalIntegrated Pharmacy Research and Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016


  • Information
  • Patient data
  • Patient medication records
  • Community pharmacy

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