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Boots gears up for compliance with the Electronic Prescription Service

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Boots The Chemist has signed an agreement with Quicksilva Software Solutions to enable it to meet the requirements of current and future releases of the NHS Electronic Prescriptions Service (EPS). Independent UK healthcare IT supplier Quicksilva is providing both consultancy and its integration tool, Spinal Tap, to enable Boots to exchange electronic prescriptions with the NHS data store, known as the Spine.

The Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (ETP) Programme will mean a reduced requirement for patients to visit their GP surgery just to collect a prescription saving time for both patients and GP surgery staff. In addition, accuracy and safety will be improved because prescription information will not need to be typed in by both the GP and again by the pharmacist.

NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) is responsible for the rollout of EPS, which defines how prescriptions will be electronically transmitted from GP practices to community pharmacists via the Spine. To ensure GP and pharmacy systems are fully interoperable, each application connecting to the Spine must first achieve deployment approval from CFH.

Boots, which has over 1,400 branches in Britain, has opted to work in partnership with Quicksilva to steer through all the stages of the CfH compliance process. Quicksilvas Spinal Tap product will be used to enable the pharmacist to meet the necessary technical integration requirements of ongoing EPS releases.

BLOCKQUOTE:Dave Bottomley. Business Systems Manager (Healthcare), at Boots said, The compliance requirements set out by CfH require a significant investment of time and expertise to ensure that our applications can achieve the necessary authority to deploy. By working with Quicksilva, much of this complexity has been taken out of our hands. This is has allowed us to concentrate on delivering improvements to our systems to help our pharmacists, and to support our commitment to excellent and expert patient care.

Quicksilva's Spinal Tap handles the complexity of the system integration required to enable the electronic transmission of prescriptions. Acting as a broker between Boots in-house IT systems and the NHS Spine, Spinal Tap will perform the message handler role to convert data held within Boots IT systems into the HL7 message format required to communicate with the NHS Care Record Service Spine. The integration tool will be managed in a central location within Boots data centre.

Gayna Hart, managing director of Quicksilva said, We are delighted to be working with such a major healthcare provider as Boots. Its commitment to patient care, such as its initiatives to train its people on avian flu to assist with customer enquiries, demonstrates its forward-looking attitude and strength in the market. With Boots market leadership it is expected to process patient records for about 20% of the UK population, 12.5m, indicating the large scale of this project.

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