HEE releases advice on how to support digital literacy in the pharmacy workforce

Health Education England (HEE) has released a new report that provides guidance on supporting digital literacy across the pharmacy workforce.

The document, ‘Digital Capabilities for the Pharmacy Workforce’, considers the key areas of digital transformation, as well as how to enhance the digital skills of pharmacy staff.

After outlining how the report and its initiatives fit in with two major policy plans – the NHS Long Term Plan and the NHS People Plan – the paper explains that it will be using HEE’s digital literacy project and self-assessment capability framework for assessing “digital readiness” to direct staff to relevant training.

The overall aim is to outline the “work undertaken to relate this tool to the pharmacy workforce” and then, by directing the pharmacy workforce to training programmes, help “improve their knowledge, skills and competencies”, to enable them to adapt to the changes that digital transformation will bring.

The following roles from across pharmacy were used to help map the framework to the intended workforce:

  • pharmacy support staff
  • foundation pharmacy technician
  • advanced pharmacy technician
  • senior leadership pharmacy technician
  • foundation pharmacist (newly qualified)
  • advanced pharmacist
  • senior leadership
  • consultant pharmacist.

After estimating the level of digital literacy required for each of the roles and staff groups, HEE recommends training courses that are relevant to both staff and the framework, focusing on “relevant digital themes”. These included information governance, cybersecurity and electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA), as well as data sharing, apps, wearable technologies, and many more.

The courses and programmes themselves are delivered by a wide range of providers, such as Microsoft and NHS Digital, and cover an even broader array of topics – stretching from basic digital skills, through to data, health informatics and clinical risk management.

The document also lays out the barriers and solutions for pharmacy staff in areas such as interoperability, and shows what each recommended course can offer specific roles and how it can develop competency levels within the selected ‘domains’.

The six domains are:

  • Information, Data and Content
  • Teaching, Learning and Self-Development
  • Communication, Collaboration and Participation
  • Technical Proficiency
  • Creation, Innovation and Research
  • Digital Identity, Wellbeing, Safety and Security.

To read the HEE pharmacy digital literacy document in full, click here.