NHS England report calls for law to require greater sharing of patient data

A draft NHS England report on overprescribing leaked to HSJ [paywall], proposes that the law should require wider access to healthcare data, in a bid to improve patient safety.

The review carried out for health secretary, Matt Hancock, highlights the issue of poor interoperability between NHS computer systems, which means clinicians cannot see or understand what medications patients are taking or when a medication should be reviewed.

According to report author, chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge, prescribers should be identified in the electronic health record (EHR) so they can be contacted by other clinicians. He adds that a free-text box should be created in EHRs so clinicians can explain why a certain medication has been prescribed.

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In the report, Ridge calls for “wider access” in order to ensure that “many eyes” view prescribing data and spot any problem and for prescribing apps to make their data openly available.

He also recommends that private providers should be required to share prescribing data and private and secondary care prescribers should be able to add prescribing information to patients’ GP care records.

The report advises that NHSX create a mechanism