Shoes MD Seb James: The NHS and neighborhood pharmacies could share data to greatly improve the healthcare system.
14 March 2023 – Seb James, managing director of Boots, stated today at Digital Health Rewired in London that improved patient data exchange between community pharmacies and the NHS could change the way healthcare services are provided.
At the event, Boots, the top supplier of health and beauty products in the UK, also provided information on a number of fresh data-driven initiatives. The largest health research initiative in the UK, Our Future Health, and a new private pilot service for diabetes screening were both unveiled.
Boots’ managing director, Seb James, stated: “Patient care should be personalized and seamless, providing complete continuity between hospital, GPs, and the neighborhood pharmacy. Just as we can advise our customers which skincare product may be appropriate for them.
“This would not only significantly reduce the strain on the NHS system, but it would also make it much simpler for patients to receive the care and services they require. Better patient data sharing between community pharmacies and the NHS is one method to support this. Better data sharing could change how healthcare services are provided with user consent.
The following are the results of the survey. Data from loyalty cards may serve as a preliminary indicator of ovarian cancer, according to a recent research by Imperial College London. In order to determine whether there is a correlation between an ovarian cancer diagnosis and a pattern of over-the-counter pain and indigestion medicine purchases, the research monitored the spending of willing Boots Advantage Card users.1
At the event, Seb also disclosed that Boots is expanding its collaboration with Our Future Health, a project that seeks to produce the most comprehensive portrait ever of an individual’s health in order to revolutionize illness prevention, detection, and treatment.
Since last year, Boots has worked to increase participation in the project by volunteers by promoting it among members of its Advantage Card program. Boots assisted in the recruitment of over 10,000 volunteers since last summer during a successful pilot in 10 stores, and the collaboration is now being expanded to 10 more stores this month, with up to 70 stores joining by the end of the year.2
Seb also discussed how Boots is broadening the selection of healthcare services it provides clients both online and in physical locations. Boots offers both private services in-person and online that are commissioned by and provided on behalf of the NHS.
Boots presented a new private pilot diabetes screening program at Digital Health Rewired that will go live in May in seven stores throughout Manchester, London, and Birmingham due to the greater prevalence of type 2 diabetes in these cities. If there is a desire from customers, the service might expand to more stores in the upcoming year.
The HbA1c diagnostic test from LumiraDx will enable the diabetes screening service, and appointments can be made online. Patients will be asked a few questions during the screening session to determine whether the service is appropriate for them. If appropriate, the test entails a quick finger puncture to obtain a drop of blood for analysis using the seven-minute-quick LumiraDx HbA1c diagnostic test. The patient will be instructed to talk to their GP about their results if the test suggests a potential case of type 2 diabetes.
Boots could carry out these tests on behalf of the NHS, according to Seb, who also stated that he encourages discussions with both national and local service commissioners. He also thinks that increased data sharing between community pharmacies and the NHS could be beneficial in the area of diabetes.
“We want to help address the approximately 850,000 people who are currently living with undiagnosed diabetes3,” he said. As well as having community pharmacies like Boots conduct screening tests, there could be an expanded role for diabetes management in community pharmacy. When patients pick up their medications, members of our pharmacy staff could assist with checks and provide this information back to their GP via the patient record. That might be very effective.
Community pharmacies do not currently have complete read-write access to NHS patient health data in England. Due to the nature and complexity of pharmacist participation in care and treatment, the Professional Record Standards Body recommended last year that pharmacists should have complete read and write access to patient records.
1. James M. Flanagan and colleagues released an observational case-control study in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance titled “Association Between Purchase of Over-the-Counter Medications and Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis in the Cancer Loyalty Card Study (CLOCS)”.
2. Volunteers who have learned more about Our Future Health agree to participate in the research program, grant secure access to their health data, fill out a questionnaire, and schedule an appointment at a Boots location. During their visit, volunteers will have a blood sample drawn by members of the team who have undergone special training, as well as some physical measurements like their blood pressure.