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Introduction to SMSP for PDS

Overview of SMSP and SMSP for PDS

The SMSP Vision

The NHS Digital Spine Mini Service Provider (SMSP) is an interface that lets health and social care providers access important information held on Spine and is aimed at reducing the complexities around integration with the Spine.

SMSP is a middleware application that presents a simpler interface to local systems than that provided by full Spine integration, but with more limited capabilities. It requires a secure network connection (through N3 or its successor – HSCN), but smartcards are not required, because only exact matches to trace requests are returned, and updates to the Spine service are not possible.  It provides a web service interface, as part of the Spine platform, for a local SMS Client to directly query a subset of Spine services, meaning:

  • Health and social care organisations can access some types of patient information (initially PDS) more easily.
  • Third Party developers can integrate their systems with Spine more easily whilst continuing to develop local Client applications to meet the needs of End Users.

It also provides a lighter weight assurance process using the NHS Digital self-certified approach (known as the Target Operating Model) to address clinical safety, operational readiness and Information Governance issues.

What is the NHS Digital SMSP for PDS?

The first NHS Digital SMSP application has been developed for the Personal Demographics Service (PDS), one of the Core Spine services. The PDS is the national database of patient demographic information, comprising patients’ NHS Number, basic demographic details (name, DOB, gender, address), contact details, registered GP practice, pharmacy preferences for use in EPS, and various indicators for records management purposes.

The SMSP for PDS makes national demographic information available to suitable organisations with whom NHS Digital has a legal basis for sharing PDS Data. It allows these organisations to fulfil their duties under the NHS Standard Contracts to use the NHS number as a ‘consistent identifier’, resulting in every patient being identified properly across care settings.  It will also improve ease of access to national information by social care organisations.  The service provides access to demographic data so that End Users can:

  • Determine the NHS number using other demographic details.
  • Search for patient demographic information based on a combination of NHS number, name, date of birth, postcode and gender.

In the future we may develop the SMSP to let users connect with other Spine services, such as Summary Care Records or the Electronic Prescription Service.