Electronic referral to improve medicine adherence and safety


An online data management system was used to improve community-scale pharmacy management.

Evidence shows that 5-8% of unplanned hospital admissions are due to medication issues; when patients are prescribed a new medicine, a third are non-adherent after 10 days, and 30-50% of medicines are not taken as intended.

However, ongoing community pharmacist support has been shown to improve medicine adherence.

Solving the problem

PharmOutcomes is an online data management system for pharmacy management on a community scale. It is designed for the effective central management of multiple pharmacies across local areas.

Newcastle Hospitals worked with North of Tyne Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPT) and Pinnacle Health to develop an electronic referral template using PharmOutcomes.

The platform helped hospital pharmacy staff to improve the care of patients transitioning back home from hospital.

Hospital pharmacy staff used the system successfully in the North of Tyne area to refer patients to their community pharmacist if considered beneficial after leaving hospital.

The use of PharmOutcomes within Newcastle has been supported by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria; an organisation which is dedicated to improving healthcare across the region by harnessing partnerships between the NHS, academia and industry bodies.

Key outcomes

In 2015, project outcomes were evaluated after 13 months of work. During this time, 2,029 inpatients were referred from two hospital sites to 207 community pharmacies. 31% of these patients participated in a follow-up consultation by their community pharmacist.

This evaluation proved that a digital platform helped hospital pharmacy staff to improve the coordination of care of patients transitioning back home from hospital.

Patients who attended a community pharmacy follow-up had lower readmission rates and shorter hospital stays, indicating an improved medicine adherence.