Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG) workstream updates (archive)

Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG) workstream updates (archive)

Read more about CP ITG and its work at: the Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG) webpage.

This ‘CP ITG workstream update (archive)‘ webpage sets out information following past CP ITG meetings based on past pharmacy IT bulletin.

The bulletins (including the most recent one) can also be downloaded in pdf format at the CP ITG webpage.


Workstreams (overview)

CP ITG has five workstream areas:

  1. Interoperability and security: Ensuring information about people’s health and care can be safely and securely accessed, wherever it is needed. (WS1a-1d)
  2. Reducing burden: Use of digital to reduce the burden on pharmacy teams, so they can focus on patients, and appropriate infrastructure for the task. (WS2a)
  3. Good use of digital: Support the use of digital within pharmacy to improve health and care productivity, improve patient safety outcomes and improve cooperation between pharmacy teams and the health and care system. (WS3a-3c)
  4. Patient and pharmacy tools: Support enabling patients to be able to choose digital tools to access medicines information and pharmacy services directly, so they can receive the best outcomes, recognising the need to also remain inclusive for all patients. (WS4a)
  5. Set out roadmap priorities: Development and promotion of a wider community pharmacy digital roadmap / vision. (WS5a)

Those areas have some alignment with NHSX missions. See downloadable PDF version of the full: CP ITG workstreams.

These sections below set out updates related to these workstreams based on the most recent pharmacy IT bulletin.

Summer 2021 updates

CPCF/CPCS IT

General

  • CPCS IT systems are currently funded centrally by NHSE&I. This arrangement was originally due to end in April 2021 but was extended up until the end of September 2021. CPCS contractors will be responsible for purchasing their own solutions from October 2021 onwards.
  • The group has been supportive for guidance and benchmarking that assists the selection of pharmacy contractors’ CPCF/CPCS system supplier and has noted that some contractors will be considering contracts and contract length given that October 1st 2021 is approaching. CP ITG and PSNC have supported for continued work but also have fed back to NHSE&I and the CSU at previous and recent meetings that six to twelve months’ notice should be provided ahead of such developments. This time is to allow pharmacy contractors to consider options, agree contracts and train with the new systems. Suppliers also request this period of notice to assist with their allocation of programming resource and to help them with fitting in this work around their other roadmap items.
  • Suppliers’ software solutions will need to meet CPCS IT standards set by the NHS. These standards will be reflected in the CPCS Technical Toolkit (which NHSE&I plan to publish in draft format during June 2021 and to iterate it over time as needed). The document incorporates past comments from CP ITG and suppliers.
  • Four CPCF IT suppliers are expected to be ready for 1st October 2021: Cegedim, PharmOutcomes, Positive Solutions and Sonar. Other suppliers may come on board later. Suppliers are currently being supported by NHS Digital and NHSBSA to meet the minimum requirements in the CPCS Technical Toolkit. See also: CPCS IT system selection and IT support arrangements.

GP CPCS IT pilot

NHSE&I has been working on the GP CPCS piloting and rollout since 2020 and provided a further update about recent progress:

  • The pilot relates to eight London community pharmacies with the Sonar system and four GP practices.
  • CPCS connects patients who have a minor illness or need an urgent supply of a medicine with a community pharmacy. CPCS was extended to include referrals from GP practices from 1st November 2020. Pharmacies which are already registered to provide CPCS do not need to re-register to receive referrals from GPs, as this is an extension to the existing Advanced service (previously referrals came only from NHS 111).
  • There are a significant number of scenarios in which the GP could refer the patient to the pharmacy.
  • NHSE&I have engaged with the LPCs with pilot pharmacies within their areas including with LPCs within Pharmacy London.

GP CPCS IT principles and standards

  • When the GP makes a referral to a community pharmacy, this could be done using different types of GP IT (e.g. accuRx or Doctorlink). Contractors have requested common GP CPCS IT standards so that the messages appear seamlessly in pharmacy CPCS IT systems. LPCs have also requested a principle for GPs to have access to a form of IT that enables CPCS referrals to be reported in the appropriate way even for those patients who do not visit the GP practice in person to make it easy for GP practices to divert patients to pharmacy via GP CPSC, where appropriate.

IT policy updates

Integrated Care Systems (ICS) and local digital priorities

  • NHSE&I published Designing ICS (June 2019) and Integrating care… (November 2020) setting out plans to increase the importance of ICS within the NHS. PSNC published a summary of the key points. ICS were in place by April 2021 (or before in many areas) and ICS have a statutory footing from 2022, subject to legislative change. ICS evolved from Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships. ICSs are to: enable cooperation between the NHS and councils; run services in a coordinated way; agree system-wide priorities; and plan collectively how to improve patients’ day-to-day health. There are around 40 ICS and each of them services populations of between 300,000 and 3 million.
  • ICS have been tasked with developing data and digital as one of several key goals (“to drive system working, connect health and care providers, improve outcomes and put the citizen at the heart of their own care”). IT ICS priorities as set out by NHSE&I are as follows: developing Local health and shared care records (LHCRs); preparing digital transformation plans for their area; developing a roadmap for patient-centred digital channels; enabling collaboration including shared appointment booking and referral management and task sharing; publishing statistics; and supporting remote monitoring to allow patients to stay safe at home for longer. Many ICS are forming digital boards and employing digital leads. Local Pharmaceutical Committee Chief Officers have expressed interest with taking on board CP ITG national priorities to support their work with ICS on local digital priorities.
  • The group, LPCs and contractors accessing LHCRs are encouraged to attend a Virtual LHCRs/ICS Event: for LPCs and CP ITG (1st July noon-1.30pm).
  • Local digital priorities based on feedback received by PSNC and on the national CP ITG digital priorities list have been prepared into documents: Local pharmacy digital priorities (prose) and Local pharmacy digital priorities slides. Comments on these documents can be made to it@psnc.org.uk by the end of June 2021.
  • Examples of LHCR or local digital priority papers should be sent to it@psnc.org.uk by 30th June 2021.

New CP ITG IT infrastructure survey

NHSX and NHS Transformation Unit working to develop a new strategy

  • NHSX and NHS Transformation Unit discovery work is continuing to enable the later creation of an NHSX digital strategy for pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, ambulance and community services (PODAC). NHSX are working closely with NHSE&I and other stakeholders to build on the opportunities already taken to accelerate transformation in these areas over the next three to five years.
  • Many from within the group volunteered their time to feed into two workshops. PSNC and pharmacy teams also fed in via one-to-one interviews with the project team. The project team have explained that some extra system supplier feedback will be captured later. PSNC has reported that capturing supplier feedback is also critical.
  • Those who have not yet fed in can contact it@psnc.org.uk to be sighted on developments and feedback opportunities.

Pharmacy IT Gantt chart draft template

  • System supplier feedback has indicated that multiple projects and objectives are contributing towards severe capacity challenges. Suppliers asked whether the group could explore documenting the multiple projects which are ongoing or forthcoming within the NHS; a draft chart template has been prepared. See: Gantt Chart (slide) and Gantt Chart (spreadsheet). The chart can be set to relate to ‘all contractors’ or can be used as a template by an individual system supplier. Comments about the work may be sent to it@psnc.org.uk.

COVID-19 vaccination programme IT

  • More than 600 community pharmacy sites are currently being used to provide vaccines. Contractors have used Point of Care systems such as those provided by Outcomes4Health and Sonar.
  • NHSE&I and NHS Digital are supporting the use of the National booking service (NBS) and the wider vaccination programme. NBS enables people to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments at vaccination centres and community pharmacies across England. The national booking service is made up of three parts: (1) an online booking service available to the public on the NHS website – the Book a coronavirus vaccination service; (2) an appointment management system for staff working at vaccination centres and community pharmacies offering vaccinations (Q-Flow); and (3) an app for checking people in to their appointments when they arrive at vaccination centres.
  • More than 500 pharmacy-led vaccination sites have administered over five million vaccines across England (as of June 2021). Further pharmacies are being onboarded into the programme.
  • Pharmacy teams involved with vaccine supply are encouraged to feed into NHS Digital by registering interest at http://bit.ly/NHS-vaccination-user-research so an NHS Digital team member can get in contact. The user research team are especially interested to hear from those who do activities such as data input or reporting, or those who use computer systems as part of their role.

Other IT policy updates

Integrated Care Systems and digital technology

IT policy updates

A May 2021 joint Lancet and London School of Economics (LSE) report on the future of the NHS called for a re-evaluation of digital health and for new areas of focus. The suggested focus areas are as follows:

  1. Deliver integrated electronic health records past commitments (with access for patients, carers, and health and care providers across multiple settings).
  2. Improve the usability and interoperability of IT systems to reduce staff errors and burnout.
  3. Address security, privacy and governance concerns.
  4. Develop easy-to-use platforms for those at risk of digital exclusion.
  5. Collate datasets to support policy and planning, service delivery, and the precision medicine and public health agendas.
  6. Invest in IT leadership, training and development of the existing workforce, and the creation of new roles such as data scientists and clinical informaticists
  7. Understand AI/robotics benefits but as complementary to pre-existing roles and to reduce the burden on staff.

Interoperability and records

Work to update the Pharmacy information flows standard

  • The Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) provided an update at the group’s last meeting and invited CP ITG to a multi-disciplinary workshop, and suppliers to a January 2021 workshop. PRSB pharmacy flows standard developments work was highlighted by PSNC. A dedicated pharmacy call with CP ITG and PRSB took place in February 2021. PSNC will consider endorsing the dataset after its Service Development Subcommittee have reviewed the latest version of the dataset (which is expected to be available within June 2021). PSNC will feed back to PRSB and RPS.

Local health and shared care records (LHCRs) and records update

  • Updates about LHCR arrangements have been included within previous progress updates. LHCRs are sometimes referred to as ‘Shared care records / ShCR’.

LPCs and/or local contractors can continue to take steps to gain pharmacy access such as:

Other updates:

Other interoperability updates

NHSmail

  • NHSmail support pages outline the benefit with the NHSmail Teams “Virtual Visits” patient consultation platform – it enables appointment booking and video consultation. The NHSmail team provided a demo to PSNC and CP ITG representatives. At present, pharmacy team members do not have the ability to ‘switch on’ the functionality and the NHSmail team have advised that an update will be provided later about whether a pharmacy process for accessing this can be added.
  • PSNC has been working with the NHSmail team to check that pharmacy contractors have the correct revised naming format: ODScode@nhs.net (e.g. not the incorrect format nhspharmacy.ODScode@nhs.net). Contractors who do not have their address within the expected format can raise a ticket with the NHSmail pharmacy admin team.
  • PSNC has published a factsheet to support escalation of an NHSmail ticket.
  • IT case study: Pharmacy and GP practice co-working with NHSmail: Community pharmacy contractors and GP practice staff in Widnes are collaborating more than ever after digitising their communications through a local NHSmail initiative.

IG, identity and security

NHS Digital’s Care Identity Service 2 (CIS2) program

  • CIS2 is a future enabler for login to NHS systems without a physical Smartcard for more health and care settings.
  • CIS2 (formerly called NHS Identity) is an authentication system. Some newer associated CIS2 integrations are being piloted with health and care professionals in England to prove their identity when accessing national clinical information systems e.g. Summary Care Record (SCR) access on iPads via fingerprint identification by Care Home staff and paramedics.
  • Authentication in the future may be via: a specified mobile device correctly set-up and with the right software; or a Smartcard (or virtual equivalent) with or without a direct HSCN connection. However at the present time, Smartcards do require a HSCN connection. There is a piece of work in the pipeline to enable Smartcards to be used on the internet and so remove the reliance on a connection to HSCN.
  • At present EPS and the associated authentication being used (CIS1) is limited to Microsoft Windows.
  • CIS2 has a series of advantages compared with CIS1: it works with iPads/Windows tablets/laptops, and cross-platform keys, it also works with Google Chrome and Apple Safari instead of just via the Microsoft internet browser.
  • Paramedics using CIS2 have found benefits including speedier authentication when compared to older systems.
  • Some older CIS1-related technologies will be reaching end-of-life, and NHS Digital and PSNC will be communicating about this to suppliers within June 2021.
  • Pharmacy contractors, teams and CP ITG have expressed interest in being able to break away from needing to use physical Smartcards, in favour of signing-in on a mobile device and using EPS.
  • At some point, CIS2 may be able to create scenarios in which personal mobiles are used for authentication.
  • The ongoing work between Entrust and NHS Digital on other ‘Entrust virtual Smartcard certificates’ is separate from CIS2 developments. Work is ongoing to coordinate and align the two projects.
  • NHS Digital authentication/CIS2 team have been engaging with each of the pharmacy EPS system suppliers and will continue doing so, and plan to do so further via the EPS Next Generation work and  the ongoing NHS Digital / PMR service calls. System suppliers which wish to further understand how to speedily begin the CIS2 integration work should fully explore the NHS Digital CIS2 webpages, continue any PMR/CIS2 team talks which have already begun or contact the CP ITG secretariat (it@psnc.org.uk) who will link you to the CIS2 supplier onboarding team. Suppliers may also contact the CIS2 supplier onboarding team directly.

Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPTK)

Other updates about data security

Promoting good IT, and user research opportunity

NHS Service Finder enhancements and user research

  • NHS Service Finder is a free tool that provides access to information from the Directory of Services (DoS) and the NHS website. It is not accessible by the public, but it does allow pharmacy teams, LPCs and other healthcare professionals to search for service information quickly. The NHS Service Finder team added new enhancements during March 2021 including: restyled search results, quicker searches, and improved filtering options. PSNC has been requesting such changes and will continue to provide input to the NHS Service Finder team based on contractor feedback it receives. A YouTube video was published to highlight the benefits for pharmacy team members.
  • NHS Digital user researchers are conducting a round of user interviews to help develop the NHS Service Finder tool further. Please take part by emailing it@psnc.org.uk.

Digital tools research by NHS Digital: pharmacy volunteers required

  • NHS Digital and NHSX are running research to help identify what community pharmacists and service leads need most from the digital tools and systems that pharmacy teams use on a daily basis at work. They are also looking to identify what information and data pharmacists and service lead staff need in their daily tasks to make informed decisions and best carry out their role. PSNC have fed inputs into the project team.
  • The user researchers are also looking to speak to pharmacists and service leads, most particularly those working in: regional/local multiples; distance selling pharmacies; and large multiples. They have already spoken with many independent pharmacy contractors. The interviews will take around 45 minutes and can be scheduled at a time that works best for the pharmacy team member.
  • NHS Digital user researchers are conducting user interviews to help develop the NHS Service Finder tool further. If you’d like to take part email it@psnc.org.uk with ‘digital tools’ in the subject title.

Other updates: reducing burden

EPS and RTEC

EPS statistics

  • NHS Digital EPS and eRD utilisation rate statistics (for the March 2020 dispensing month) are set out on the right, and 95.6% of GP practices were Phase 4 ready at this time. NHSBSA continue to publish EPS dashboards and other data.
  • NHSBSA confirmed at the June CP ITG meeting that over 95% of those community pharmacy prescriptions being processed by NHSBSA are now EPS ones. Other statistics at NHSBSA and NHS Digital websites indicate more than 90% of prescriptions are EPS taking into account other dispenser types.

Other EPS and electronic prescribing updates

  • NHSBSA’s NHS EPS endorsement guidance has been updated (to version 7.6), pages 13-14. The SSP endorsement can be used from June 2021. The current ‘NCSO workaround’ is being phased out and is scheduled to no longer be allowed to be used from October 2021 dispensing.
  • EPS SSPs went live within the June 2021 Drug Tariff with a transition period in which NCSO will be allowed. System suppliers have received guidance from NHSBSA.
  • Suppliers may be revising their SSP system-specific guides and PSNC offered to comment on drafts.
  • NHSBSA and PSNC have clarified EPS old patient charge rate processes near the boundary of a new financial year (the patient prescription charge rate typically increases from April 1st each year). If EPS prescriptions are submitted in the March dispensing month, they are processed as ‘old patient charge rate’ and if they are submitted within the April dispensing month they are processed as ‘new patient charge rate’ (i.e. for the new financial year).
  • PSNC revised its Dose area EPS-related guidance.
  • The Welsh government continues to consider an electronic prescription system. Matt Armstrong is feeding into this project on behalf of the CP ITG.

 NHS Digital work on EPS Next Generation

  • NHS Digital have continued working with NHSX, NHSE&I and others on preparing a newly developed ‘EPS prescribing API / message format’ and EPS Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards. The initial implementation is into secondary care and in relation to homecare providers. The EPS team has rebuilt the existing service using modern standards and technology. It is now available for secondary care and GP suppliers to develop against. It is anticipated that pharmacy system suppliers can start developing from late June 2021 at the earliest.
  • The EPS team’s 2021-22 ‘Next generation’ work plan includes progressing a first-of-type within summer 2021 for EPS outpatients and homecare suppliers, and working with suppliers to start the transition and deliver some new EPS features. The 2023-24 the work plan currently includes: identification of further features; building new features; working with suppliers and ideally decommissioning the older HL7 EPS R1 and R2 technology by March 2024.
  • NHS Digital have updated several webpages including the following: EPS developer guide, FHIR implementation, FHIR API and signing-in apis.
  • One of the main reasons EPS has moved to FHIR is so that there is the ability for EPS suppliers to align with the standard dosage standard – something long campaigned for by the CP ITG’s outgoing Chair.
  • The Next Generation EPS features that are being looked at include a range of features, including EPS instalment dispensing for methadone (EPS FP10 MDAs) and EPS antibiotic prescriptions.
  • The EPS team would like to be able to work on other EPS wishlist items including: Personally Administered (PADM) items, improvements to cancellation options, removal of the 4-item limit (line item prescribing), extending nomination choices, EPS Tracker APIs, private prescriptions, prescribing and dispensing ‘services’ within directories, customised prison EPS forms, improved eRD (Electronic Repeat Dispensing) and improved dispensing statuses (enabling patient-facing messages via apps etc). Enhancement business cases will be made on a feature-by-feature basis.
  • PSNC will continue feeding into NHS Digital. The EPS team will also be welcoming more detailed pharmacy team inputs about specific EPS enhancements being worked on such as via upcoming user research events which the group will be made aware of.
  • If you work within community pharmacy and would like to feed into the CP ITG’s EPS future list or NHS Digital’s work and events contact it@psnc.org.uk with ‘EPS future’ in the subject title.

Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC)

  • NHSBSA has led the RTEC project since January 2020. CP ITG and PSNC have been supportive of its continued roll-out. Read more on RTEC, its phases and continued piloting of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) RTEC at five pharmacies using PSL at: RTEC. Feedback from RTEC users (PSL/EMIS/Cegedim/Titan systems) has continued to be very positive. Use of RTEC reduces the exchange of paper between pharmacy teams and patients, assisting infection control.
  • NHSBSA met with two PMR suppliers across late 2020 to discuss the new data sharing arrangements necessary between NHSBSA and those suppliers. Deployments for pharmacies with those systems had to pause for several months. RTEC deployments relating to those two system suppliers recommenced immediately after the group’s November 2020 meeting, after additional work by NHSBSA and PMR suppliers. Contractors are now being encouraged to register for RTEC and more than three quarters of pharmacy organisations have now done so.

Apps, wearables and technologies (incl videocon)

NHS App

  • Details about the NHS App have been explored in past IT progress updates. The NHS App is available on the Google Play store and the Apple App store.

The NHS App team are working on further features including:

  • Online consultations integration: The first supplier was made available through the NHS App in 2020 initially with eConsult and Patient Knows Best. The NHS App team is using open standards to help suppliers who provide forms-based triage systems integrate them.
  • Push notification capability: The NHS App team have built the ability to allow users to receive broadcast or targeted push notifications and messages relating to their care. This could include reminders for referral appointments, reminders for online consultations, and screening invitations, via services integrated into the app. Suppliers are being onboarded.
  • NHS Electronic Referral Service (NHS e-RS) integration: The NHS App team integrated the NHS booking system for hospital appointments, NHS e-RS Manage your referral. This enables patients to book their first hospital appointment when their GP refers them to a specialist.
  • Personal Health Records (PHRs) integration with NHS App: The first supplier, Patients Know Best, was made available in the NHS App from April 2020 and more are expected to go live in spring 2021.

Apps and tools

Video consultation, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics

Autumn 2021 updates

IT policy updates

Integrated Care Systems (ICS)

IT policy: lessons from the pandemic

IT policy: changes to the landscape

CP ITG IT infrastructure survey

dm+d code changes and synchronisations

  • PSNC received system supplier and pharmacy contractor feedback about changes to dm+d codes impacting on the use of EPS.
  • Pharmacy contractors should report actual or potential clinical impacts using the Learn from patient safety events (LFPSE) process outlined at the dm+d webpage reporting guidance section.
  • NHSBSA dm+d team are reviewing their scope to provide notifications ahead of changes and have already started to introduce some communications earlier than usual via the Technology Reference data Update Distribution communications route.
  • Supplier comments have proposed that if dispensing and prescribing systems targeted aligned synchronisation dates this would reduce the risk that pharmacy contractors received problem prescriptions for items which have had changed dm+d entries. However, there are challenges given that some prescribing suppliers reportedly synchronise less often compared to pharmacy system suppliers and additionally whilst the drugs database update may be made available monthly for prescribers, it may take two to three weeks after the update for it to reach all GP practices using that system. Pharmacy system suppliers will contact the CP ITG secretariat within October 2021.

IT policy key updates

Innovation

Digital capabilities

Inclusion

Healthwatch reported on how some patients had been excluded by remote GP appointments

Interoperability and records

Shared Care Records (ShCR) update

Updates about ShCR arrangements have been included within previous meeting papers and discussed at past meetings. ShCRs were previously called ‘Local health and shared care records (LHCRs)’.

LPCs and/or local contractors can continue to take steps to gain pharmacy access such as:

CP ITG pharmacy reps and LPCs took part in the Virtual ShCRs event (1st July 2021). PSNC continues to work with NHSX and other relevant stakeholders on the actions decided at this meeting. More information about these actions is available here: minutes and outputs for the Shared Care Record (ShCR/LHCR) summer 2021 event.

Records

Other updates about interoperability

NHSmail

NHSmail support pages outline the benefit of the NHSmail Teams “Virtual Visits” patient consultation platform – namely, this platform enables appointment booking and video consultation. The NHSmail team provided a demo to PSNC and CP ITG representatives. Pharmacy contractors that would like to pilot this can contact it@psnc.org.uk with their name, ODS code and telephone number and ‘Virtual Visits pilot’ within the email subject title.

IG, identity and security

Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPTK)

  • PSNC and NHS Digital are currently updating the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPTK) and related tips. Additional user testing is also planned. If you would like to get involved with this user testing, please contact it@psnc.org.uk.
  • NHS Digital may update contractors about the availability of the initial Toolkit version. However, we strongly recommend that contractors hold off accessing the Toolkit until the planned improvements have been finalised and PSNC releases its updated guidance. Contractors will still have adequate time to complete the Toolkit before the submission deadline on 30th June 2022. We will keep contractors informed of any developments.

Data security key updates

Promoting good IT, and user research opportunity

NHS Service Finder enhancements and user research

  • NHS Service Finder is a free tool that provides access to information from the Directory of Services (DoS) and the NHS website. It is not accessible by the public, but it does allow pharmacy teams and other healthcare professionals to search for service information quickly. The NHS Service Finder team published user survey results in August 2021.
  • NHS Digital user researchers are conducting a further round of user interviews to help further develop the NHS Service Finder tool. If you’d like to take part email it@psnc.org.uk.

Discovery work about patient digital authentication

  • Discovery work about patient digital authentication: PSNC and CP ITG are feeding into DHSC who are carrying out related discovery work and must explore: the best way to capture digital authentication in community pharmacies; main challenges in implementing digital authentication; and main benefits in implementing digital authentication (for pharmacies/patients).
  • Contractors may submit further information into a survey at: https://forms.office.com/r/VYUw5geidT by 20th October 2021. CP ITG and PSNC will collate further feedback such as via survey and will share the output to DHSC.

Key reducing burden updates

Development of pharmacy systems

Use of pharmacy systems for CPCF services

  • DMS was introduced as an Essential service in early 2021. NHSE&I and PSNC were keen for suppliers to be given information on the service, IT implications and dataset requirements. Supplier briefings occurred in October 2020, February and May 2021. Contact persons on the project introduced themselves to CP ITG There is an objective to progress the specification work further during autumn, and for a ‘go-live date’ ideally by late 2021. PSNC is continuing to push for this work to be completed at the earliest opportunity. Updates will be published at: psnc.org.uk/itrequirements and psnc.org.uk/dms.
  • NHSE&I announced that a national procurement model would be in place to support community pharmacy contractors with the delivery of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). This was scheduled to terminate on 1st October 2021, but was extended to the end of March 2022. Contractors are recommended to start considering which CPCS IT supplier they want to choose well in advance of the next change. From the autumn, contractors will be able to transition to their own contractual arrangements with one of the four assured IT providers: Cegedim; Positive Solutions; Sonar Informatics; or PharmOutcomes.
  • NHSE&I has published a CPCS IT Provider ‘Switching’ guide and additional buyers guidance and an NHSE&I CPCS IT webinar is expected shortly on Thursday 14th October, from 7.00-8.30pm.

EPS and RTEC

EPS

  • Since the last meeting, PSNC has restructured and revised the webpages within its EPS website section. PSNC has also updated its EPS totals reconciliation guidance (EPS totals) guidance and reported on EPS script volumes exceeding 95% of total items.
  • EPS Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs): The current ‘NCSO workaround’ is being phased out and it is recommended that all contractors and system suppliers ensure they are using the EPS SSP endorsement instead of NCSO as soon as possible. NHSBSA is issuing some guidance and support to system suppliers implementing the EPS SSP feature. Suppliers also have some flexibility as to the extent to which they will support pharmacy team members for example, by asking users to complete any missing or incomplete SSP endorsement information if the required endorsements are not present or not in the specified format. NHSBSA has received examples of invalid/incorrectly endorsed SSP claims submitted via EPS. PSNC tips explain how to avoid submitting invalid SSP claims.

Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC)

  • NHSBSA has led the RTEC project since January 2020. CP ITG and PSNC have been supportive of its continued roll-out. Read more on RTEC, its phases and continued piloting of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) RTEC at five pharmacies using PSL at: RTEC. Feedback from RTEC users (PSL/EMIS/Cegedim/Titan/Lloyds/RxWeb systems) has continued to be very positive. Use of RTEC reduces the exchange of paper between pharmacy teams and patients, assisting infection control.
  • Contractors are now being encouraged to register for RTEC and more than three quarters of pharmacy organisations have now done so.
  • NHSBSA, DWP and the RTEC steering group plan to allow the expansion of the DWP RTEC functionality to additional pharmacy contractors shortly.
  • PSNC published an RTEC benefits case study (CP ITG Vice Chairman, David Broome).

Apps, wearables and technologies (incl videocon)

NHS App

  • NHS App has reached more than 10 million users and become the UK’s most popular app with over 6 million new users since the COVID-19 vaccination status service was added on 17th May 2021. The NHS App is available on the Google Play store and the Apple App store.
  • The NHS App team are working on further features including: Personal Health Records (PHRs) integration with NHS App: The first supplier, Patients Know Best, was made available in the NHS App from April 2020 and more are expected to go live in late 2021.

Tool quality and tool frameworks

Apps and tools

GP tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics

 

Winter 2021 updates

NHS Digital Clinical Safety Strategy

  • NHSX, NHS Digital and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) recently published a Digital Clinical Safety Strategy. It aims to improve the safety of digital technologies, now and in the future, with its recommendations including:
    1. Understanding of, and planning for the clinical impacts if IT technologies have downtime.
    2. The Learn from patient safety events (LFPSE) service (which replaced the NRLS service) to have a greater emphasis on digital systems and technologies.
    3. Other reporting mechanisms to align to the LFPSE service – reporting digital clinical safety incident information into the LFPSE should be accessible via all standard incident reporting platforms.
    4. LFPSE mandatory questions will ask reporters if an event is related to an IT or software system, and follow-up questions will ask about the nature of the IT or software problem.
    5. System-wide learning and response related to digital technologies.
    6. IT help desk queries, system downtime reports and, when possible, patient, and public stories should be considered in a triangulated way.
    7. IT suppliers are recommended to produce a clinical safety case report (CSCR) which contains a hazard log that details mitigations and additional controls. This is to be maintained throughout the life cycle of the health IT system and its use and sharing is critical to system-wide learning.
    8. Necessary information will be relayed from LFPSE to NHS Digital and NHSX.
    9. Clinical Risk Management Training such as that equivalent to the relevant Health Education England (HEE) module to be promoted to additional groups working at the intersections of digital clinical safety, including those working in industry and patient safety professionals and health and care workers.
    10. The Clinical Safety Forum to continue to enable sharing of ideas and lessons.
    11. Digital clinical safety to be embedded within future policy and regulatory documents.
    12. A central patient-identifiable database should be created by collecting key details of the implantation of all devices at the time of the operation.
    13. Digital products and services may be assessed against the NHS Service Standard.
    14. A National Digital Clinical Safety Board will be established with responsibility for strategy implementation. It will include policy makers, patients, and suppliers of digital technologies.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS)

Innovation

IT policy: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Digital clinical safety

IT policy: other updates

NHSX published the ‘Who Pays for What’ framework

  • NHSX published the ‘Who Pays for What’ framework to clarify how ICSs and other relevant parties now and in the future can apply for access to IT funds.
  • This framework set out that for 2021-2022 national funding for specific transformational technological projects would be consolidated into a single fund – the Unified Tech Fund (UTF). UTF seeks to simplify and consolidate the process for accessing technology funding. The UTF will no longer be taking applications after 22nd March 2022, but some funds close well before this date. Individual ICSs or collaboratives of ICSs can apply for ShCR funding to support Shared Care Records progress. Applications must meet the criteria set out within the UTF prospectus. Several funds were added later, and some have had their close date extended.
  • NHSX proposed that for 2022-23 onwards ICSs will be expected to fund the delivery of their tech plans from their own budgets, the total funding envelope available to ICSs and their constituent organisations. They will be given control of more resources with which to do so. National funding will continue to cover national products such as the NHS App; national infrastructure; pilots linked to the NHS Long Term Plan commitments in advance of national scaling; and things that need to be done across multiple ICS areas
  • NHSX expect to move away from central funding of frontline tech.
  • Views about the ‘Who Pays for What’ framework can be sent to wpfw@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Interoperability and records

NHS Profile Manager

  • A new tool, NHS profile manager is scheduled to replace both the DoS Updater and the NHS website editor in early 2022.
  • During November 2021, NHS Digital will review all the existing users of the NHS website profile editor and any users who are not using an email address ending with nhs.net will receive email instructions on how to update their login details.
  • This will help all contractors to ensure that they are prepared for the launch of the new NHS profile manager in early 2022.
  • Group members are encouraged to use example communications copy to update their networks post meeting; invited to see a demo of the new system during a CP ITG subgroup call (scheduled for late November 2021) and provide feedback on it.
  • NHS Digital will update multiples about the plans concerning the NHS website and DoS Application programming interface (API), during a late 2021 call which is being facilitated by PSNC.

Interoperability and NHSX strategy

  1. A new end-to-end process and governance model for standards development.
  2. A standards and interoperability strategy to be published.
  3. An open-source playbook which will provide guidance to providers and commissioners looking to adopt and implement open-source solutions.
  4. A long-term roadmap for standards and interoperability, this will include a timeline for moving from one version to another and will assist vendors, providers and commissioners with planning and development.
  5. A standards portal, registry of standards used across health and care. Standards may be arranged by use case and easily searchable. The portal will be supported by community features to enable greater collaboration and sharing around standards development, maintenance, and adoption.
  • NHSX can be contacted regarding this programme of work via standards@nhsx.nhs.uk.
  • Collated feedback will be shared with NHSX.

NHSBSA/NHSE&I update on pharmacy services API work

  • NHSBSA are to update the group.
  • NHSBSA are to invite CP ITG PMR/CPCF suppliers and relevant persons to a dedicated call on the topic.

Closure of the Shielded Patient List

  • NHS Digital previously added a ‘Shielded Patient Flag’ to the NHS Summary Care Record (SCR), this included patients who were on the Shielded Patient List. This enabled community pharmacy teams using the SCRa application to see an alert when viewing the SCR of such a patient.
  • Following Government announcements regarding the end of national shielding in England, the Shielded Patient List (SPL) for England will be closed and changes to patient risk status have stopped being applied. This means:
    • any changes to local patient risk status are no longer captured in the national SPL, or shared with other health and care system partners; and
    • the high-risk flag is not an indicator to be relied upon to assess a patient’s current risk from COVID-19 by GPs or in practice management and reporting.
  • NHS Digital plan to undertake a managed closure of the SPL during late 2021 and early 2022.

Shared Care Records (ShCR) update

LPCs and/or local contractors can continue to take steps to gain pharmacy access such as:

Other updates:

Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs), ShCR project teams and other parties supporting ShCR pharmacy deployment are encouraged to contact it@psnc.org.uk with technical ShCR information so that supplier and IT support helpdesks can whitelist several ShCR domains at the same time.

NHSX are working with South Central West CSU to develop national Shared Care Records (ShCRs) guidance for the Pharmacy, Ambulance and Community sectors. ShCR usage in Community Pharmacy, Ambulance and Community sectors has been limited. This guidance will promote uptake by providing practical steps for how to join local ShCRs and how to onboard organisations onto ShCR programmes. The work is split into three work packages:

  • Work package one: Case studies and best practice examples from ShCRs pilot sites and live sites. These case studies will highlight organisations’ experiences of using ShCRs and their feedback, including how they overcame any barriers and if any business change processes were implemented.
  • Work package two: Guidance for PODAC organisations who want to make best use of ShCR solutions. This includes the practical steps required to join and access a ShCR solution.
  • Work package three: Guidance for organisations who are responsible for the delivery of ShCRs to ensure they follow best practice architecture patterns and make use of existing and emerging national services and standards.

NHSX have commenced work package one and aim to start work packages two and three during November 2021.

Records

Other updates about interoperability

NHSmail

  • NHS Digital has tasked an Accenture project team with exploring and boosting NHSmail and NHSmail Teams usage, including within the community pharmacy sector.
  • Pharmacy use of NHSmail is higher than use within many other sectors, however, usage could be higher still.
  • NHS Digital has now rolled out NHSmail MS Teams to 1.3 million users across the NHS since March, and in the space of six months it has been used for 14.5 million calls and has hosted more than 32 million virtual meetings.
  • NHSmail support pages outline the benefit of the NHSmail Teams “Virtual Visits” patient consultation platform – namely, this platform enables appointment booking and video consultation. The NHSmail team previously provided a demo to PSNC and CP ITG representatives. Several contractors amongst the small alpha pilot group have begun to successfully use and pilot Virtual Visits. Pharmacy contractors that would like to pilot this are encouraged to contact it@psnc.org.uk with their name, ODS code and telephone number and include ‘Virtual Visits pilot’ within the email subject title. Prerequisites for piloting: a personal NHSmail account, NHSmail MS Teams, access to a webcam and a suitable computer or mobile device.

IG, identity and security

Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPTK)

  • PSNC and NHS Digital are currently updating the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPTK) and related tips. Additional user testing is also planned. If you would like to get involved with this user testing, please contact it@psnc.org.uk.
  • NHS Digital may update contractors about the availability of the initial Toolkit version. However, we strongly recommend that contractors hold off accessing the Toolkit until the planned improvements have been finalised and PSNC releases its updated guidance. Contractors will still have adequate time to complete the Toolkit before the submission deadline on 30th June 2022. We will keep contractors informed of any developments.

Other data security updates

Connectivity, business continuity arrangements

Reducing burden

  • The group previously identified going paperless as a priority – within its Digital Priority List and Views on the next generation of EPS However, pharmacy teams continue to report considerable use of paper and printing for reasons such as enabling prescription information to move around the dispensary given limited space for PMR terminals. Following work with the group and the paperless sub-group the ‘Going paperless’ webpage is now available.
  • The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) from October 2021 begun posting out a new version of the paper FP34C submission form. This FP34C version will continue to be issued until March 2022 (for prescriptions dispensed in February 2022), after which FP34C submissions through the Manage Your Service (MYS) portal will become compulsory. The revised FP34C form includes various improvements. Figures for Electronic Prescription Claims and FP10 Paper Claims now have separate entries on the form to ease the contractor reconciliation process and related EPS totals comparisons.
  • PSNC published a factsheet that explains how pharmacy team members can check if they have an older NHS Smartcard needing replacement ahead of December 2021 deadlines.
  • NHS Digital previously added the multi-site ‘FFFFF’ Smartcard code and SCR rights onto Smartcards with the pharmacist or pharmacy technician role, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative was supported by PSNC and NHS England and NHS Improvement. NHS Digital previously confirmed to PSNC that assignment codes will be further extended until 31st March 2022.
  • NHSX, NHS Digital, PSNC and others are supporting an initiative to rationalise central lists of pharmacy data used within NHS systems and datasets. This will help align data, reduce pharmacy workload, and improve accuracy and data quality. The workstream is also helping to identify future NHS profile manager enhancements, some of which are being added to the roadmap.
  • The Prescribing Policy and Charges team at DHSC are conducting discovery work to explore patient digital authentication. The group’s comments submitted at the previous meeting and via survey have been collated.

Development of pharmacy systems

  • The group previously published its “Use and development of pharmacy systems – Suggested features list v1.0”. Additional feedback has led to this document being significantly updated version. Suppliers and the group are encouraged to share final comments, by emailing it@psnc.org.uk during November 2021. The updated list will be published shortly after the November 2021 meeting. A draft copy can be requested by contacting it@psnc.org.uk.
  • DMS was introduced as an Essential service in early 2021. NHSE&I and PSNC were keen for suppliers to be given information on the service, IT implications and dataset requirements. Supplier briefings occurred previously. Contact persons on the project introduced themselves to the group: Charlotte Welsh (NHSE&I) and Rob Hills and Ben Tindale (both NHSBSA). There is an objective to progress the specification work further, and for a ‘go-live date’ ideally by late 2021. PSNC is continuing to push for this work to be completed at the earliest opportunity. Updates will be published at: org.uk/itrequirements and psnc.org.uk/dms.
  • NHSE&I announced that a national procurement model would be in place to support community pharmacy contractors with the delivery of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). This was scheduled to terminate on 1st October 2021, but was extended to the end of March 2022. Related preparations should be finished by contractors ideally November / December and no later than February 2021. Contractors are recommended to consider which CPCS IT supplier they want to choose in advance of the next change. From the autumn, contractors will be able to transition to their own contractual arrangements with one of the four assured IT providers: Cegedim; Positive Solutions; Sonar Informatics; or PharmOutcomes.
  • NHSE&I has published a CPCS IT Provider ‘Switching’ guide.
  • NHSX have published a new CPCS Buyer’s Guide with inputs from partner organisations including PSNC.

EPS and RTEC

Electronic Prescription Service (EPS)

  • NHS Digital EPS and eRD utilisation rate statistics (for the August 2021 dispensing month) are set out on the right.
  • NHS Digital ESP team are working on:
    • Enhancements to EPS dashboard to improve consistency of nomination data and include EPS activity from the non-GP settings.
    • Continuing assurance work for EPS prescribing and dispensing systems for current and Next Gen EPS.
  • NHS Digital EPS (Next Generation work):
  • The first system to use the new FHIR prescribing API for secondary care outpatients is aiming to start First-of-Type late Nov ember 2021.
  • Another secondary care system supplier is developing against the prescribing API, and more suppliers are engaged – both prescribing and dispensing systems.
  • Development of APIs for dispensing and prescribing system suppliers.
  • Discovery work is ongoing around use of EPS for secondary care outpatients to homecare.
  • Prioritisation of technical developments and potential EPS enhancements continues – considering the value/benefits and technical feasibility. Further cross-setting stakeholder engagement and user research will be taking place on this soon – including a future CP ITG slot.
  • The group’s EPS future list is to have priority and feasibility rankings marked against its items. Please contact it@psnc.org.uk if you would like to support this work, such as via a workshop call or by emailing across views.
  • EPS Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs): The current ‘NCSO workaround’ is being phased out and it is recommended that all contractors and system suppliers ensure they are using the EPS SSP endorsement instead of NCSO as soon as possible. NHSBSA is issuing some guidance and support to system suppliers implementing the EPS SSP feature. Suppliers also have some flexibility as to the extent to which they will support pharmacy team members for example, by asking users to complete any missing or incomplete SSP endorsement information if the required endorsements are not present or not in the specified format. NHSBSA has received examples of invalid/incorrectly endorsed SSP claims submitted via EPS. PSNC tips explain how to avoid submitting invalid SSP claims.
  • The Welsh Government pledged full electronic prescribing within five years.

Real Time Exemption Checking (RTEC)

  • NHSBSA has led the RTEC project since January 2020. CP ITG and PSNC have been supportive of its continued roll-out. Read more on RTEC, its phases and continued piloting of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) RTEC at five pharmacies using PSL at: RTEC. Feedback from RTEC users (PSL/EMIS/Cegedim/Titan/Lloyds/RxWeb systems) has continued to be very positive. Use of RTEC reduces the exchange of paper between pharmacy teams and patients, assisting infection control.
  • NHSBSA, DWP and the RTEC steering group plan have allowed the expansion of the DWP RTEC functionality to additional pharmacy contractors since the last bulletin – from five to fifty sites.

Apps, wearables and technologies (incl videocon)

NHS App

  • NHS App reached more than 16 million users by October 2021 with over 12 million new users since the COVID-19 vaccination status service was added on 17th May 2021. The NHS App is available on the Google Play store and the Apple App store. 28 million people have registered with NHS login – around half of the English population.
  • The NHS App team are working on further features including: Personal Health Records (PHRs) integration with NHS App: The first supplier, Patients Know Best, was made available in the NHS App from April 2020 and more are expected to go live in late 2021.

Apps and tools

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics

Spring 2022 updates

Get involved

If you have a related query or would like to feed into the CP ITG or share your updates about IT and digital issues then please don’t hesitate to contact one of the group’s organisers, Dan Ah-Thion or it@psnc.org.uk or you can also sign-up to join the virtual Community Pharmacy Digital Group which helps inform CP ITG’s work with others. You can be involved as much or as little as you like with CPDG, and can unsubscribe from that email group at any time.

 

 

Return to the Pharmacy IT hub; CP ITG; CP ITG workstream recent update; or IT a-z index



Latest Contract & IT news

View more Contract & IT news >

Have you completed the DMS DoC?

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are reminded that they must complete the Discharge Medicines Service (DMS) Declaration of Competence (DoC) before...