Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG)
Published on: 9th June 2017 | Updated on: 27th November 2023
The Community Pharmacy IT Group first met in 2017, and progresses its workstream areas during and between its meetings. The group hopes to set out digital priorities and encourage the sector to get more engaged with the many upcoming digital changes. It brings together pharmacy representatives with IT policy makers and system suppliers to discuss such changes.
The joint group has been formed by Community Pharmacy England, NPA, RPS, CCA and AIMp and representatives are sent from each. Pharmacy system suppliers, NHSBSA, NHS Digital, NHSE&I, and NHS Transformation Directorate also participate in the group’s meetings.
Matt Armstrong (CCA representative) was elected to chair the group and David Broome (Community Pharmacy England regional representative) was elected as Vice Chair.
About system supplier attendance: Pharmacy patient medication record (PMR) system suppliers and pharmacy service suppliers attend the meetings. Other pharmacy system suppliers (or prospective suppliers) may also attend and may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details about the meeting and how to join it.
Instructions about invitations may be sent out prior to meetings. Meetings may be held virtually using the Zoom meetings solution, and Community Pharmacy England has a guide to the Zoom which can be used by those attending.
Read more about who is involved within the section below and at CP ITG representatives.
Read more about who is involved at: CP ITG representatives.
CP ITG meetings
CP ITG meetings occur each quarter (Wednesdays 11am-2.30pm) – usually virtually. Meetings may be held virtually using the Zoom meetings solution, and Community Pharmacy England has a guide to the Zoom which can be used by those attending.
Future dates are listed at the IT events page.
Information for new members or presenters
Information is also set out within:
If you will be presenting for CP ITG please note the Information and checklist for presenters document (CP ITG).
Information about CP ITG sister group: Community Pharmacy Digital Group
CP ITG’s sister virtual group, Community Pharmacy Digital Group (CPDG) also has early sight of new developments and technology and its views feed directly into CP ITG. The CPDG comes together virtually as a social networking email group.
Further CPDG members are welcomed and can be as involved as they wish. Try taking part with CPDG by signing up at the CPDG page. The CPDG group discuss matters virtually via email instead of meeting face-to-face. After signing up, you can decide to unsubscribe from the email group at any time.
See also the CP ITG section above about: ‘Membership, joining and attending‘.
Information is set out within the group’s Terms of Reference.
The purposes of the group include:
- developing a shared vision for the optimum use of digital technology in community pharmacy in England;
- providing a forum to discuss new digital technologies which may have a future impact on community pharmacy practice;
- supporting the development of user-led recommendations which can be considered by suppliers;
- providing a credible, respected forum for sector-wide engagement with NHS organisations and other national bodies on the vision, strategy and operational plans for delivering optimum use of digital technology in community pharmacy;
- developing an implementation strategy for delivering optimum use of digital technology in community pharmacy and oversee a joint work-programme to deliver it; and
- providing, through its member organisations, recommendations and advice to community pharmacy and other healthcare organisations.
The Chair, commented on the purpose:
“This group, with its unique cross-sector membership, has an important task ahead of it: to develop a shared vision for the use of digital technology in community pharmacy in England; and to work together to implement changes that will benefit pharmacies, patients and the NHS.”
CP ITG has five workstream areas:
- Interoperability and security: Ensuring information about people’s health and care can be safely and securely accessed, wherever it is needed. (WS1a-1d)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Set out roadmap priorities: Development and promotion of a wider community pharmacy digital roadmap / vision. (WS5a)
Those areas have some alignment with NHS Transformation Directorate missions. The items within those areas are:
1. Interoperability and security:
WS1a Supporting the development of interoperability/integration: This could be between different community pharmacy systems and between community pharmacy systems and other health and care record systems. This would necessitate community pharmacy systems supporting the recording of interventions/services in a coded manner (using SNOMED CT) with a clear aspiration for computable dose instructions across all systems including EPS and pharmacy systems. The group will also support the development; of electronic referral solutions, for referral into and from community pharmacy; and transfer of information passed from and to community pharmacy in a structured manner – ideally via clinical systems e.g. flu vaccine, emergency supply, New Medicines Service, Community Pharmacist Consultation Service notifications from pharmacy to GP systems, smoking cessation referrals from secondary care, interoperability with hospital systems for discharge information etc. The group supports pharmacy systems extracting anonymised information to support evaluation and further development of pharmacy services. The group will keep a watching brief on developments relating to Professional Record Standards Body and group participants may feed into Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) pharmacy-related work. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/interoperability and cpe.org.uk/dosesyntax
1. Interoperability and security:
WS1b Supporting NHSmail: Work with NHS Digital, promote NHSmail use by contractors and seek to improve usability, e.g. NHSmail migration of individual accounts to new nomenclature and the use of email address aliases to provide a user-friendly email address for day-to-day use. Guidance will also give examples of how NHSmail can be used. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/NHSmail
1. Interoperability and security:
WS1c Supporting maintenance and demonstration of data security and information governance arrangements: Supporting the use of minimum hardware specifications and the development of the Data and Security Protection Toolkit for community pharmacy, NHS Digital training resources and developing guidance and resources for pharmacy teams on cyber security and information governance (including data protection laws and handling patient requests for access to their data). Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/ds
1. Interoperability and security:
WS1d Connectivity, business continuity arrangements and dealing with outages: This would include supporting the transition from N3 to Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), in terms of the sector starting to get the benefits of the new HSCN model. NHS Digital’s NHS Digital’s Internet First policy and other NHS and wider IT/digital/infrastructure developments will be considered, a watching brief being kept and implications for community pharmacy IT arrangements may be considered. Also ensuring the technical architecture of pharmacy connectivity does not prevent access to key NHS web-based resources, e.g. the Leeds Care Record. Pharmacy and system supplier input should be incorporated into HSCN migration plans. A standardised approach is required where there is a change by a pharmacy from one PMR system to another given there are clinical (including patient safety), ethical and legal risks related to the potential for data to be inappropriately transposed. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/itcontingency; and cpe.org.uk/connectivity
2. Reducing burden:
WS2a Support reduced burden through tackling issues related to the practical use of pharmacy IT and promoting good IT practices: E.g. tackling issues like frequency of forced password changes, use of alternative credentials (alternatives to Smartcards), multi-login options, for users and changes to support improved patient safety. Additionally, learning and promotion of good practices such as: less use of paper and more WiFi within pharmacies. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/itworkflow
3. Good use of digital:
WS3a Supporting the development of pharmacy systems: The group will help with consideration of pharmacy medication records (PMR) systems usability, interoperability for pharmacies and Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and the five year framework. The work can support further work by the group with NHS Transformation Directorate, NHS Digital, PMR system suppliers and contractors to develop a roadmap for development of PMR systems. The group should support PMR systems by helping to identify useful future development options – importantly to become increasingly patient-focussed and the group will maintain the list of commonly requested features. The group intends to keep a watching brief on potential regulatory changes that may impact pharmacy IT. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/systems
3. Good use of digital:
WS3b Supporting EPS and its enhancements: The group are to support NHS Transformation Directorate, NHSE&I, NHS Digital and others by continuing to develop and share their views on the next generation of EPS. Real-time exemption checking, support of Phase 4 roll-outs, improving the efficiency of eRD (electronic Repeat Dispensing) workflows in systems, development of standard descriptors across PMR systems for the different stages of a script’s EPS journey and other issues identified in the EPS optimisation log. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/eps and cpe.org.uk/itfuture
3. Good use of digital:
WS3c Signposting to the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group (CPPSG): The group may signpost newly emerging patient safety items (with a digital aspect) for CPPSG’s consideration as/if needed. Relevant webpage(s) include: CPSSG
4. Patient and pharmacy tools:
WS4a Consider the development of apps, wearables and technologies in healthcare: Consider the development of guidance and principles, where required, for new pharmacy and patient technologies covering, appropriate usage and security for data, promotion of all pharmacies equally within technologies etc. Support patient tools (NHS/pharmacy ones) which are usable, useful and inclusive. Support patient data standards being developed by PRSB and others. Support patients being able to choose to share information with health and care organisations such as their pharmacy (e.g. blood glucose levels) that is currently restricted to ‘silos’. User research which indicates patient expectations within this arena may also be considered to help the group’s wider work. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/apps
5. Roadmap priorities:
WS5a To support useful and usable IT beyond pharmacy PMR systems and EPS: The group will conduct further work to develop its vision which should align with its workstreams and the NHS Transformation Directorate missions. The roadmap should demonstrate the value to patients if the pharmacy digital vision is fulfilled. The digital roadmap should incorporate a wide range of feedback from the sector. The group will also seek pharmacy system supplier input and support as to those roadmap items which are more feasible within the nearer future for pharmacy systems. Relevant webpage(s) include: cpe.org.uk/itfuture
Download a PDF version: CP ITG workstreams
CP ITG workstream progress is set out at: CP ITG and IT workstream updates.
Note: The CP ITG will consider topics based on number of requests and extent of alignment with CP ITG workstreams.
Meeting papers and minutes
Click on the links below to download the agendas and minutes. Minutes from the meetings will be published after they are approved at the following meeting. Sorted from newest to oldest:
GP Connect and Update Record (Nov 2023)
Drug Tariff IT event (Nov 2022)
Q4 Winter 2023 (Nov 2023): Slides
CP ITG Pharmacy Show session (Oct 2023)
Care Identity Service 2 and moving beyond Smartcards (Sept 2023)
Apps (Sept 2023)
EPS and NHS App pharmacy IT event (Jul 2023)
NHS Profile Manager and NHS website profiles event (Jul 2023)
Digital Care Services Catalogue event for suppliers (April 2023)
Independent Prescribing IT event (Dec 2022)
Drug Tariff IT event (Oct 2022)
Q2 Summer 2022 (Jun 2022): Agenda and update papers; Minutes; Slides; Interoperability consultation response; Digital transformation in the NHS consultation response; NHS letter to suppliers about pharmacy IT priorities;
Summer CPCF service technical toolkits for comment: Blood Pressure Check Smoking Cessation Contraception Management Discharge Medicines Service NMS. Feedback opportunity: If wishing to comment, send comments to email@example.com as soon as possible.
Q1 Spring 2022 (Mar 2022): Agenda and update papers; Minutes; Slides; Supplier letter from PMRs to policy makers; Policy maker letter to suppliers; CPCS IT communications wording; Draft PMR transfer spec and dataset
Summer Shared Care Records (ShCR) meeting (Jul 2021): Agenda and update Shared Care Records (ShCR) papers; Minutes and outputs
Q2 Summer 2021 (Jun 2021): Quarterly round-up; Agenda and update papers; Minutes; Slides; Chair elections process; IT infrastructure survey communications copy; Local digital priorities template (prose/ slides); Pharmacy IT projects gantt chart template (slides / spreadsheet).
Q4 Winter 2020 (Nov 2020): Quarterly round-up; Agenda and update papers; Minutes; Flu notifications update; Pharmacy info flows slide updates; NHS Service Finder communications copy; Paperless update and next steps; and SCR slide updates.
Digital priority papers
Several short papers are set out below:
- Views on the next generation of EPS (CP ITG)
- CP ITG workstreams
- Digital priorities list (two pages) summary (one-page) or infographics.
- View on supplier development
- CPCF grid, infographic and IT – Reproductions of the grid and infographic to support IT relating to the Five-Year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework.
- Local digital priorities template (prose version / slide version)
CP ITG ShCR papers
If you 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, and can unsubscribe from that email group at any time.