Boots UK managing director Sebastian James has said data sharing between local pharmacies and the NHS could be hugely beneficial to the healthcare system across the country. 

Speaking at Digital Health Rewired in London, James said: “Just as we can advise our customers which skincare product might be suitable for them, patient care should be personalised and seamless, offering complete continuity between hospital, GPs and the local pharmacy.

“Not only would this take critical strain out of the NHS system, but it would also crucially make it easier for patients to get access to the care and services they need.  

“One way to help facilitate this is the better sharing of patient data between community pharmacy and the NHS. With patient consent, better data sharing could transform the way healthcare services are delivered.” 

The health and beauty retailer announced its partnership with ‘Our Future Health’, the UK’s largest health research programme with the objective to transform the prevention, detection and treatment of various health conditions and diseases. 

It also shared how Boots Advantage Card data could be used to predict and improve patients’ health. A study by the Imperial College of London found that loyalty card data could be used for the early detection of ovarian cancer. 

The retailer said: “The study tracked the spending of consenting Boots Advantage Card holders to investigate a link between a diagnosis of ovarian cancer and a pattern of buying over-the-counter pain and indigestion medications.” 

Boots also announced the launch of a diabetes-screening trial starting in May. The screenings will be available across stores in Manchester, London and Birmingham as these areas feature higher numbers of type 2 diabetes within the population.

James said: “There are currently around 850,000 people living with undiagnosed diabetes and we want to help address that.  

“As well as having community pharmacies like Boots perform screening tests, there could be an expanded role for diabetes management in community pharmacies.  

“Our pharmacy team members could support with checks when patients collect their medicines and feed this information back to their GP via their patient record. That could be really powerful.”