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As the SGP (formerly known as the privacy officer) you should follow your organisation's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to audit SCR use. This makes sure that records are only being looked at where there is a legitimate relationship and permission to view, or appropriate emergency access. (See information governance for more information.)
You do this by viewing alerts created when users look at a record, and cross checking this against other patient information.
The SOP will tell you:
- the percentage of alerts to check, for example 50 per cent
- how often to check alerts, for example weekly
- how you will select which alerts to check, for example every other alert
- what sources of information you should use to check the view was appropriate, for example:
- signed consent forms
- notes entered by the person who accessed the SCR
- pharmacy opening hours and staff records
- Patient medication records (PMR) information
- whether you need to run other audit reports, for example a random user's access or any out of hours access
- how you should escalate any issues if you can't find a reason for access
You use the SCR alert viewer to view alerts, and to close them after investigation.
Using the alert viewer
You will need an N3 connection and a smartcard to log on.
Viewing alert reports
Log on to the SCR alert viewer. You'll need to log in with your smartcard, and have the right codes added, to see it.
This is the first screen you'll see:
Search for the alerts you want to look at:
- tick the boxes in the top left to search for new alerts and alerts which are open and under investigation
- make sure all the alert type boxes are ticked
- click the blue Search box
This takes you to this screen:
The number of alerts currently open will appear in the green box at the top left of the screen. In this case it is a high number as it covers 101 organisations.
To narrow the search to alerts for a particular organisation:
- select the organisation or organisations you want to view the report for, by using the Organisations drop down in the top right hand corner
- click Search again to view the alerts
You'll see a screen like this:
Alerts are listed in date and time order. You might need to scroll down to see them all. By default you'll see 10 alerts per page. You can change this using the drop down menu at the top left.
Processing single alerts
You'll need to open each alert you want to investigate.
Viewing an alert
- to view a single alert, double click it:
This opens the alert:
You can now see the full alert, including its unique identifier, the date and time of access, and its status and type. Any text in blue can be clicked to show more information.
The Additional Information field is where the pharmacy professional accessing the record enters their reason before opening it.
The Action section is where you can manage and update alerts. On this screen, you can see that the user Jay Hutton has previously noted that the alert is under investigation, and has entered an example note.
Closing an alert
If the investigation is now complete, you can close the alert:
- change the status of the alert to closed using the drop down menu next to Action
- add some brief notes to provide an audit trail
- click the blue Apply Changes box
You'll see the following screen:
Your most recent notes will have moved to the left hand side, showing that you have closed the alert. You can now click Back to Alerts List:
This takes you back to your search results, with the closed alert removed from the list:
Marking an alert as under investigation
This is a screen showing an emergency alert:
An emergency alert would be generated if the pharmacy professional needed to look at the SCR but couldn't get the patient's permission. The additional information box should show their explanation, for example 'Patient with dementia' or 'non-English speaker'. In this case, the information provided doesn't give an explanation, so you would investigate.
1. select Open (under investigation) from the drop down menu in the Actions section:
2. add notes on what you are going to do to investigate, so that other users can see what you are doing:
3. click the blue Apply Changes box to save your update
The alert should then be investigated using the process outlined in your SOP.
Processing alerts in bulk
After you have investigated all the individual reports specified in your SOP, for example 50 per cent of all alerts in one week, you can use the bulk alert update tool to close the remainder. Only use bulk updates to close alerts of the same type and status - you may need to filter your list to bulk update all remaining open self-claim alerts, and then all other alerts.
1. go to your list view:
2. select all the alerts in the list by ticking the box in the top left hand corner, or manually select all the alerts you want to close
3. click the blue box labelled Bulk Alert Update
4. choose a reason from the Action drop down menu, for example Closed - no investigation required
5. enter 'not in SOP sample' in the Notes field
6. click Apply Changes to save
Watch a video clip of an SGP processing alerts following the process above.
From the Spine portal, you can access other reports to help monitor SCR access. Select the Spine Reporting Service option:
There are a number of reports to choose from. Our SGP guidance for community pharmacy document has more guidance on reports.
Subject access reports
A subject access request (SAR) as defined by the Data Protection Act 1988, is when a patient asks an organisation who has looked at their records. There is a report available in the Spine Reporting Service, but it's best to get advice from NHS Digital. SAR requests are rare.