New software piloted in a London community pharmacy is ‘a game changer’ in providing better latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) care to patients.
EMIS Web, launched in Newham in London, has helped a community pharmacist to improve care for patients diagnosed with LTBI.
How does it work?
Through the pilot, pharmacist Jignesh Patel has access to a shared patient record and can write to his local GP.
It helps them identify and treat the dormant form of the disease, which is associated to increased risks of getting TB.
When Mr Patel receives a prescription from his GP – who also sends him three months of repeat dispensing – he knows that the patient has started treatment for LTBI and can keep track of the changes.
He can also book follow-up GP appointments for the patient, if he sees fit, and send referrals to other healthcare providers.
Mr Patel and his GP have obtained a 100% success rate in completing LTBI treatment during the pilot.
‘Up to now, we have never had a full picture of the patient’s full diagnosis or history, including attendances at Accident and Emergency (A&E)’, he said.
He added: ‘The beauty of EMIS Web for pharmacy is that I can pick things up straight away by looking at the notes.’
According to NHS England, the UK has the second highest rate of TB among Western European countries.
Latest data from the London Assembly shows that London’s health services alone spend around £30m every year on treating TB.
Mr Patel argues that the scheme ‘saves time and money and improves patient care’.
General manager of community pharmacy for EMIS Health – which provides EMIS Web – Shanel Raichura said that this is ‘genuinely a game-changer for community pharmacy in the UK’.
He continued: ‘For the first time, the technology is available to support the pharmacy profession in its goal of providing new and enhanced clinical services beyond dispensing.
‘For the wider NHS, it offers a practical way to reduce pressure on a stretched primary care system by enabling commissioners to take a more serious view of what community pharmacy can provide.’
At seven times above the national average, Newham has the highest TB rate in the UK.