ePMA Implementation Guidance for FHIR STU3

This guidance is under active development by NHS Digital and content may be added or updated on a regular basis.
Please note: This guidance has been superseded by the Implementation guide for digitial medicines, which contains up-to-date information.


Prescribing / PMR / ePMA Systems

The terms Prescribing, Patient Medical Record (PMR) and Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (ePMA) systems are broadly interchangable. Such systems are used to:

facilitate and enhance communication of a prescription or medicine order, aiding the choice, administration and supply of a medicine through knowledge and decision support and providing a robust audit trail for the entire medicines use process.

Definition above taken from “Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Achieving an Integrated Digital Care Record”, published by NHS England, 2013.

The clinical systems used by Primary Care General Practitioners (GPs) incorporates all the functions of an ePMA system, plus extra functionality that support the business of a Primary Care GP surgery.

Dispensing / Pharmacy Systems

A dispensing system is used within a pharmacy organisation or pharmacy function of a hospital. It is used to record the supply of medicines and appliances following order requests and/or NHS prescriptions. Key functions include dispensed medicines labelling and stock control.

Developer Terms

This guidance uses a number of developer terms - details of which can be found on the NHS Digital website in the Glossary of Developer terms section.

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This guidance also references a number of abbreviations commonly found in medical records.

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