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NHS Scotland Publishes Digital Strategy for Pharmacists

Chloe Henderson


NHS Scotland

An NHS Scotland document outlines plans for digital integration as part of an effort to step up the role of pharmacists in healthcare

NHS Scotland has laid out plans for increased digital integration and the use of analytics in prescribing as part of a new national strategy for Scotland’s pharmacists. The measures were outlined in Achieving Excellence in Pharmacy and Care, where the continued development of infrastructure  was highlighted as one of nine commitments to promote the role of pharmacists.

The underlying aim of the strategy is to strengthen their roles in community healthcare and hospitals, which includes optimising the use of digital information and data to improve services. One of the key measures is to extend the ePharmacy Programme, which has so far focused on the electronic transfer of prescriptions by GPs, to other primary care prescribers.

The document asserts that this could speed up the move towards a paperless service, and improve efficiency by removing the need for community pharmacists to endorse and claim both electronically and on paper.

Pharmacists will also be able to provide input into the implementation of Health Electronic Prescribing and Administration (HEPMA) systems – which are being rolled out across NHS Scotland health boards – and the development of a Scottish Code of Practice for the sharing of healthcare information between organisations.

There is also scope for harnessing data analytics to support the activities of pharmacists. The strategy refers to an example of using predictive analytics to assess the infection risks, and says it could be possible to develop decision support algorithms. It also explores options to step up the use of automation and robotics in dispensing drugs in hospital and community pharmacy services.

Speaking of the whole strategy, the Scottish Government’s chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Rose Marie Parr said: “Pharmacy teams in both hospital and the community already play an important role in the provision of NHS services.

“In the community, we are making good progress in promoting local pharmacies as the first port of call for our most common healthcare needs and I want to encourage more people to see them as their initial point of care. Coupled with the commitment to transform hospital pharmacy services, I believe this strategy will support our ambition to deliver world class pharmaceutical care.



Chloe Henderson

Staff Writer - DIGIT

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