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Explore and Make use of Nationally Defined Messaging APIs


Pointer Data Model

Population guidance for the pointer data model.

The following diagram shows the data item categories that can be carried within a pointer. Each individual data item is described in further detail in the sections below.

The pointer model contains: identifiers, pointer metadata, information metadata and retrieval information.

The NRL-DocumentReference-1 resource describes the NRL pointer data model. Follow the links in the ‘Data Item’ column below for mapping to the FHIR profile and detail on population guidance.


Data Item Optionality Description
Pointer Identifier Mandatory Assigned by the NRL at creation time. Uniquely identifies this record within the NRL.
Master Identifier Optional An optional identifier for the pointer as assigned by the provider. It is version specific and a new master identifier is required if the pointer is superdeded, or deleted and recreated.
Patient Mandatory The NHS number of the patient which the information referenced, by the pointer, relates to.

Pointer Metadata

Data Item Optionality Description
Profile Mandatory The URI of the FHIR profile that the resource conforms to. Indicates the version of the pointer model.
Pointer owner Mandatory The entity that maintains the pointer.
Pointer status Mandatory The status of the pointer.
Pointer version Auto-populated by the NRL Assigned by the NRL at creation or update time. Used to track the current version of a pointer.
Pointer indexed datetime Auto-populated by the NRL Assigned by the NRL at creation time. The date and time of pointer creation.
Pointer last updated datetime Auto-populated by the NRL Assigned by the NRL at creation and update time. The date and time the pointer was last updated.
Related pointer Optional (Mandatory for the Supersede interaction) Relationship referencing the previous version of the pointer, which this pointer supersedes.

Information Metadata

Data Item Optionality Description
Information category Mandatory A high-level category of the information, from a set of NRL supported categories.
Information type Mandatory The clinical type of information referenced by the pointer. The clinical type will be from a controlled set of types supported by the NRL.
Clinical setting Mandatory Describes the clinical setting in which the information was recorded.
Information owner Mandatory The entity that maintains the information.
Period Optional Optional information detailing the period in which the referenced record is/was active.
Information creation datetime Optional Optional information about the date and time (on the Provider’s system) that the information was created (for static records).

Retrieval Information

Data Item Optionality Description
Retrieval URL Mandatory An absolute URL for the location of the information on the provider’s system.
Retrieval format Mandatory An identifier for the technical structure and rules of the information.
Retrieval MIME type Mandatory Describes the type of data, in addition to the “Retrieval format”.
Information stability Mandatory Describes whether the information shared at the time of the consumer’s request is dynamically generated or static.

All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated