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Electronic Prescription Service - HL7 V3 API

Access the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) to send prescriptions from prescribers such as GPs to dispensers such as pharmacies using our HL7 V3 API.

Overview

Use this API to access the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS). EPS allows a prescriber (such as a GP) to send prescriptions electronically to a dispenser (such as a pharmacy) of the patient's choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for patients and staff.

You can do different things, depending on your role.

As a prescriber you can:

  • send prescriptions to EPS
  • cancel prescriptions

As a dispenser you can:

  • receive prescriptions from EPS
  • confirm a prescription is dispensed
  • claim for a dispensed prescription

Prescribing system scope

The EPS prescribing system specification describes reduced functionality for a minimal EPS prescribing system. It's designed to allow urgent and emergency care systems to generate EPS prescriptions, but could apply to other care settings which are in scope:
- Acute (one-off) prescriptions
- Advanced electronic signatures
- One-off nomination
- Update of local patient demographic record with information from Spine Demographics
- Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d)
- Prescription cancellation
- Prescription token printing
- Reporting and information requirements

Legal use

This API can only be used where there is a legal basis to do so. Make sure you have a valid use case before you go too far with your development.

You must do this before you can go live (see ‘Onboarding’ below).

Related APIs

The following APIs also give access to the Electronic Prescription Service:

The following APIs are also related to this API:

API status

This API is stable.

Technology

This API is an HL7 V3 API and uses:

  • synchronous interactions, using HL7 V3 SOAP web services
  • asynchronous interactions, using HL7 V3 ebXML messaging

The asynchronous pattern is used for interactions which either do not require an immediate response or might take longer, for example:

  • prescribing system is informed of the final outcome of the cancellation request
  • this is currently delivered by Spine to an MHS Endpoint and could be minutes, hours or days from the initial cancellation request

For more details, see HL7 V3.

Network access

You can access this API via:

For more details, see Network access for APIs.

Security and authorisation

Authentication

This API is user-restricted, meaning that an end user must be present and authenticated to use it.

The end user must be:

  • a healthcare professional
  • strongly authenticated, using either an NHS smartcard or a modern alternative

We support the following security patterns:

  • user-restricted HL7 V3 API, using NHS Identity
  • user-restricted HL7 V3 API, using CIS

For more details see user-restricted APIs.

Authorisation

For some activities, the end user must be authorised to perform that activity.

The API itself does not perform any authorisation checks. Rather, the calling system is expected to perform them. The authorisation rules are specified in our national Role Based Access Control (RBAC) database.

For more details see our national Role Based Access Control (RBAC) database on the registration authorities and smartcards page.

Testing

You can test this API using our Path to Live environments.

Onboarding

You must get your software onboarded before it can go live.

As part of onboarding, this API uses the Common Assurance Process (CAP), which is tailored for each NHS service. For more details, contact us.

Interactions

For a full list of interactions for this API, see the EPS section in the Spine Message Implementation Manual (MIM).

For details on the general structure of the interactions, see HL7 V3.

Additional guidance

Systems may need to meet non-functional requirements listed in any NHS Digital agreements.

You may find it useful to read these documents as they provide useful details of the EPS process and the Spine interface.

There are also several other documents which you may find useful. Some relate only to prescribing systems, some only to dispensing systems, others are common to both.

Prescribing

Prescribing documents and guidance include:

Dispensing

Dispensing documents and guidance include:

Prescribing and dispensing

Prescribing and dispensing documents include:

Other useful information

Other useful information includes:

  • the EPS schedule 2 & 3 controlled drugs requirements document contains extra requirements for the EPS to permit the prescribing and dispensing of schedule 2 & 3 controlled drugs using EPS - you need to read this alongside with the EPS Prescribing or EPS Dispensing Systems Compliance specifications

  • The NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) compliance requirement document sets out the compliance requirements for people who use and apply dm+d within their systems

  • the RBAC implementation guidance for EPS R2 provides guidance to EPS system suppliers on how to map local access control functions with the national activity codes defined within the National RBAC Database (NRD)

  • the IG National RBAC Database (NRD) contains the national Role Based Access Control (RBAC) attribute definitions for job roles, areas of work and activities along with the national baseline policy

  • the Guidance for endorsement page shows how your endorsement of NHS prescriptions helps make sure we have the correct information for reimbursement and remuneration and that you can sort, submit and endorse prescriptions

  • the Nomination requirements for system suppliers document covers the electronic transmission of prescriptions - including explaining how to use web service functions and what technical details are needed so people can integrate their systems

  • the EPS R2 training and guidance strategy document outlines the national strategy for training and guidance to support everyone who is involved with EPS R2 in England

  • the Digital signature toolkit contains a set of signed messages along with the steps that system suppliers, GPs, pharmacies and PPD (Prescription Pricing Division) systems need to create and validate signatures

  • the ETP web services client source code links to the digital signature toolkit guidance

  • the EPS infrastructure specification defines the requirements for EPS system suppliers who are seeking EPS compliance

  • the ETP message signing requirements document describes how to  implement advanced electronic signatures within EPS R2 for prescribing and dispensing systems

  • the Digital signature and non-repudiation requirements document tells people about the standards, manner, and usage of Advanced Electronic Signatures (Digital Signatures) within NHS Care Records Service (NHS CRS) compliant systems

  • the Open access for test environment page explains how you can test your healthcare applications by connecting them to Opentest on our Spine test environment

Last edited: 4 February 2021 6:20 pm