UCL School of Pharmacy


Patients should carry information about their medicines

9 September 2019

Research conducted at UCL School of Pharmacy shows that we need to raise awareness of the benefits of people with long term conditions carrying information about their medication.

Concrete examples of the benefits of patient-held information about medication (“PHIMed”) were identified, and yet many people do not carry it. Many believe that healthcare professionals will automatically have this information, which is not always the case.

There are many patient-held information about medication tools (“PHIMed”) available, both digital and paper-based. These include medication-related smartphone apps, simple electronic notes, specifically designed paper medication passports and paper medication lists. There is no “one size fits all’ solution. Different PHIMed tools meet different needs, and none of those we looked at meet all of the core requirements we identified. Patients should therefore use a tool that suits them, and healthcare professionals should be aware of examples of different tools that they can signpost patients and carers to.

The study used a mixed methods design comprising two focus groups with patients and carers, 16 semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals, 60 semi-structured interviews with PHIMed users, a quantitative features analysis of 103 PHIMed solutions available in the UK, and usability testing of four PHIMed tools.

My Medication Passport

The researchers found that PHIMed was viewed positively by those patients and carers using it, and by healthcare professionals. Participants described specific examples of PHIMed leading to improved medicines optimisation. However, a key barrier was lack of awareness by patients and carers that NHS information systems are often fragmented, which meant that they had not identified a need for PHIMed.  

Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals should therefore raise awareness among patients and carers of the potential benefits of carrying and using PHIMed, encourage its use during consultations, and be able to signpost to some of the tools available.

A short video summarising the main messages of our work for the general public is available here: https://share.wochit.com/5d1b15e72f64e300c2bf003e

This work was supported by Pharmacy Research UK grant number PRUK-2016-PG2-2-A and by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre. The views expressed are those of the researcher and not necessarily those of PRUK, the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


Professor Bryony Dean Franklin - bryony.deanfranklin@ucl.ac.uk  Twitter: @BryonyDF

Dr Sara Garfield s.garfield@ucl.ac.uk