Care Identity Service 2 (CIS2, authentication)

Published on: 7th May 2020 | Updated on: 7th April 2022

Care Identity Service 2 (CIS2, formerly 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.

NHS Identity will continue to be expanded and other developers such as Patient Medication Record (PMR) system providers or website developers may consider integrating with it in the future or using other authentication options.

About CIS2

Secure authentication happens over the Internet, without the need for a Health and Social Care Network (HSCN – previously called N3) connection.

There are some prerequisites for scenarios in which it can be used. It is currently in usage by a small number of health and care professionals but this may be expanded over time.

It can enable access to Summary Care Records (SCR) with a mobile device and one day it may enable EPS to be used on a mobile device and without need for a physical Smartcard.


Piloting is ongoing:

  • at a small number of pharmacies; and
  • by paramedics (e.g. London Ambulance Service) and some ambulance service clinical hubs.

Piloting will continue to be expanded.

Authentication options

NHS Identity authentication can be used by developers to enable an authentication via one of these options:

  • iPad (piloting – including at a few pharmacies): for individuals with their own suitable iPad.
  • Care Identity Service (CIS) smartcard authentication solution (piloting): In the future users will be able to use smartcards without a HSCN (N3) connection.
  • Windows 10 tablet authentication solution (in early development)

Potential future development options:

  • Windows desktops;
  • USB keys;
  • Android tablets; and
  • FIDO2 Smartcards.

CIS1 (legacy and in use by pharmacy sector)

Care Identity Service 1 (CIS1) is an online portal that helps better manage Smartcards. Learn more:

Using CIS1 to better manage Smartcards factsheet.

Guidance for developers

Read more at:

The CIS2 team presented at Community Pharmacy IT Group (CP ITG) to explain how pharmacy suppliers could look to begin to integrate so later it would be easier for pharmacy staff to move away from the challenges of using and updating physical Smartcards.

Further info

Read more at CIS2 (NHS Digital)

If you have queries on this webpage or you require more information please contact To share and hear views about digital developments with like-minded pharmacy team members, join the CP Digital email group today.



Read instead about NHS Identity Guidelines (NHS logo usage by pharmacies)


Return to the IT section: NHS IT systems

Return to the IT section: Authentication.

Return to the section: Data security and information governance

Return to the Pharmacy IT hub or IT a-z index

For more information on this topic please email

Latest Digital & Technology news

View more Digital & Technology newsSee all