english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2010 > France's "dossier pharmaceutique": patient information shared between pharmacists

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France's "dossier pharmaceutique": patient information shared between pharmacists

Electronic files can contribute to the quality of care by giving a history of all drugs dispensed to the same patient from all pharmacies.

In France, the "dossier pharmaceutique" is an electronic file recording a patient’s medication history, part of the personal medical record also in the works. All French dispensing pharmacies are required to offer such a medications file. Setting up the file requires the patient’s express permission: the pharmacist must take the time to explain the usefulness of this record and reassure the patient as to its confidentiality and his or her right to control access to it. The patient is entitled to refuse access by members of pharmacy staff, and also to request that certain drugs be omitted from it.

The electronic medications record includes data on the patient’s identity and on all the drugs purchased using a French national health insurance card (Carte vitale), from any pharmacy, over the previous four months.

Compared with the patient records created by pharmacies over many years, the electronic record has the advantage of including treatments dispensed in all pharmacies. For patients, it offers an additional guarantee against, for example, the risk of drug interactions.

But a great advantage of the electronic medications record will be to provide an exhaustive picture of all the drugs dispensed (in local pharmacies and hospitals, prescribed or over-the-counter) as well as being part of a patient’s medical record. It will reinforce, but not replace, the pharmacists’ work with patients and their dialogue with those prescribing medication.

©Prescrire June 2010

Source: "Dossier pharmaceutique : une information-patient partagée entre officines" Rev Prescrire 2010 ; 30 (319) : 378-381.