Implementation guide for digital medicines

This guidance is under active development by NHS Digital and content may be added or updated on a regular basis.

Detailed Logic for Step 2 - Calculate the required quantity of each VMP to fulfil the requested dose

Conversion between scaler units of measure, e.g. gram to milligram

A function is required to convert a VTM ingredient strength into the same units as the requested dose quantity.

For example, if a required dose quantity is 12.5 milligram, but a VMP for that drug is expressed with a strength in micrograms e.g. 500 microgram, then that strength needs to be expressed in milligrams before the mathematical function can be executed.

Thus 500 microgram would be converted into 0.5 milligram.

For example;

// Convert 500 micrograms into milligrams
// FNC_CONVERT_UNITS(vpi.strnt_nmrtr_val, vpi.strnt_nmrtr_uomcd, dose_uom_cd);

SELECT FNC_CONVERT_UNITS(500, 258685003, 258684004);

// returns `0.5`.

Within the dm+d, units of mass have the greatest range; kilogram, gram, milligram, microgram and nanogram.

Due to this range, the data type used within SQL must be a DECIMAL(30,12).

Conversion is required for the following units of measure.

Category Units SNOMED Code Scaler Conversion
Mass kilogram 258683005 10^3
gram 258682000 1
milligram 258684004 10^-3
microgram 258685003 10^-6
nanogram 258686002 10^-9
Volume litre 258770004 1
millilitre 258773002 10^-3
microlitre 258774008 10^-6
nanolitre 282113003 10^-9
Length metre 258669008 1
centimetre 258672001 10^-2
millimetre 258673006 10^-3

Function for quantity

A suitable SQL function to calculate the quantity of a given VMP to fulfil the requested dose quantity would be as follows.

                     , numerator DECIMAL(30,12)
                     , denominator DECIMAL(9,3)
                     , unitDoseFormStrength DECIMAL(9,3)

    IF denominator = 0  
        THEN SET denominator = 1; 
    END IF;
    IF unitDoseFormStrength = 0
        THEN RETURN doseQty / ( numerator / denominator );
    END IF;
    RETURN ( doseQty / ( numerator / denominator ) ) / unitDoseFormStrength;


A description of each variable used in FNC_CALC_QTY is contained below.

Variable Description
doseQty the required dose quantity - e.g. 12.5
numerator the VMP strength numerator, but has to be expressed in the same units as the requested dose, e.g. both in milligrams
denominator the VMP strength denominator which may be 0 / NULL for some VMPs, so use a default value of 1
unitDoseFormStrength the VMP unit dose form strength value, which may be 0 / NULL

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