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Auckland pharmacies/ hospitals to “talk” via health intranet

Auckland pharmacies and hospitals to “talk” via health intranet

From today, all Auckland pharmacies will have access to important patient information through TestSafe. A metro Auckland DHB initiative, TestSafe is a data repository that enables community pharmacists to access only relevant and pre-defined patient information through a secure health intranet connection.

TestSafe is part of a regional initiative by the three Auckland DHBs (Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata) to improve relevant information sharing among community and hospital health care providers. It brings together results from DHB facilities, community laboratories and now community pharmacies.

At this stage, community pharmacists will have access to selected laboratory results and dispensing information for their patients. It is anticipated TestSafe will eventually include relevant information from hospital discharge notes that will give the pharmacist a more complete picture of the patient’s condition and treatment plan.

“This is an excellent initiative that will improve patient safety and I look forward to the future expansion of this information,” says Ian Johnson, Guild President and Otara pharmacist. “When patients are released from hospital they usually go straight to their pharmacy for their medicines. Community pharmacists frequently spend a great deal of time finding out patients’ complete medicine regimen, particularly when significant changes were made during their hospital stay. This initiative will save a lot of time for the patients and the pharmacist.

“As essential primary health care providers, community pharmacists are now more empowered to work with patients to better utilise their medicines.”

Auckland pharmacies have spent three months populating the TestSafe repository following each dispensing. This contributes to a pool of information easily accessed by hospital clinicians when they see patients. This is especially important in an emergency situation where it is vital to know exactly what medicines the patient is taking when making critical treatment decisions about a patient with whom a prescriber is not familiar.

“This will transform the way community pharmacy practices and is a significant step forward for the profession,” says Ian.

Lynanne Stanaway, Programme Manager for Pharmacy Services at Counties Manukau District Health Board, says the DHB fully supports this initiative. “It enables community pharmacists to make informed decisions about the safety and efficacy of the medicines prescribed. In addition, they can take a more pro-active role in improving patient care.”

The TestSafe application was developed several years ago but was dependent on connecting all pharmacies to the health intranet. This level of connectivity is now available throughout the country and it is hoped similar access to patient information will be available soon.

ENDS

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