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June 8, 2016

Limited digital sharing of information enhances chance of medication errors

Dutch pharmacists often have only limited access to patient information they need in order to make sure the medication they hand over is save to use. Where pharmacists are on the forefront when using digital means of sharing patient information, general practitioners and hospitals are lagging behind. This is one of the more important conclusions from research by expertise center Nictiz and pharmacist association KNMP. The research will be presented during the ehealth week taking place in Amsterdam this week.

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Dutch pharmacists are very active in sharing their patient information by way of the digital platform
‘Landelijk Schakelpunt (LSP)’. 80 percent of their patients have authorised them to do so. However, general practitioners, specialists and hospitals only make very limited use of the shared digital patient data platform. The consequence is that pharmacists barely have digital access to relevant patient information such as a patients kidney functions, counter indications or why a certain medicine is prescribed. Complete and recent patient data are needed for a correct use of medication. The lack of this information enhances the chances of medication errors.

99 percent of all Dutch pfarmacists have a fax because hospitals mostly still use a fax to transmit medication lists. Most of them don’t use digital platforms such as the LSP or other systems for digital information transfer. The Nictiz/KNMP research shows that 91 percent of al pharmacists believe patients have the right to see all the information on them that is stored in digital platforms, electronic health records and the like. With doctors this percentage is 40 percent.

60 percent of pharmacists already give patients acccess online into their medication lists. The believe a patient has the right to see this information, and also believe it gives the patient a role in managing his or her own record, strengthens self management en therapy adherence.

Most elektronic and online communication between pharmacist and patient is about ‘ease of use’ services, such as repeat prescriptions, online Q&A’s, online informing a patient when his medication can be picked up and the like.

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