A consortium led by First DataBank, and including IMS Health and ADEL/Synapse Consulting, has won a mapping validation contract from the NHS Information Authority’s UK Standard Clinical Products Reference Source (UKCPRS) Programme to support the introduction of the NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d).

The dm+d is the latest name for the integrated product of the UKCPRS programme, which is a partnership between the NHS Information Authority and the Prescription Pricing Authority to bring together a series of different drug and medical product databases into a standard dictionary for use across the NHS.  Currently there is no common, standardised vocabulary for clinical products within the service.

Building on earlier initiatives, however, dm+d is now intended to become the NHS standard for medicines and device identification, enabling clinical system interoperability between diverse clinical systems by ensuring safe and reliable exchange of information on medicines and devices and allow effective decision support.

The contract awarded to the First DataBank consortium is to validate the mappings between the Read Codes (Version 2 and Clinical Terms Version 3) and existing drug databases.  This will include mappings to the dm+d, EMIS, SafeScript’s ‘World Standard Drug Database’  and First DataBank’s ‘Multilex Drug Data File’.  

Once these maps have been validated, the UKCPRS Programme should have a quality assured means of navigating between the legacy Read Codes used in medical histories – particularly within GP clinical systems – to the codes used in the dm+d which are intended to become the NHS standard for referencing medicines and devices.  

The dm+d, which was previously known as the UK Standard Clinical Products Reference Source (UKCPRS), brings together a series of previously separately developed drug dictionaries and data sources, including: the Primary Care Drug Dictionary (PCDD), the Secondary Care Drug Dictionary (SCDD), and the Medical Devices Dictionary (MDD).  

Relaunched by the NHSIA and PPA as dm+d in 2003, the aim is to provide a standard identifier and textual descriptor for all clinical products used in the treatment of patients across the NHS.  Dm+d is being developed for use across all sectors of health care delivery and is intended to allow computer systems to exchange information about the specific medicines or devices used in the diagnosis or treatment of patients.   

Paul Frosdick, Principal Pharmacist at the NHSIA, said "Most clinical systems containing legacy data utilise existing commercial drug and device databases. In RFA accredited systems such databases are cross mapped to Read Codes (Version 2 or 3).

“This piece of work will therefore take all pre-existing maps currently provided under RFA and validate their content. Maps from Read Codes (Version 2 and 3) to the identifiers in the new dictionary will be prepared and validated providing an indication of potential safe and consistent navigation from commercial drug databases and the new standard".  

David Flavell, managing director of First DataBank said "We are delighted that the NHSIA has awarded this important project to the First DataBank Consortium.”