HEE releases guidance on supporting digital literacy in the pharmacy workforce

Health Education England (HEE) has published a guiding document on digital literacy for the pharmacy workforce.

Entitled ‘Digital Capabilities for the Pharmacy Workforce’, the release focuses on key areas of digital transformation and how to improve the digital literacy of pharmacy staff – as well as how these aims fit in with the NHS Long Term Plan and the NHS People Plan.

The paper cites the HEE’s digital literacy project, which aims to improve the digital skills of all healthcare staff, and its self-assessment capability framework for assessing “digital readiness”.

Its aim, it says, is to describe the “work undertaken to relate this tool to the pharmacy workforce” and then signpost staff to relevant training programmes to help “improve their knowledge, skills and competencies”, which should “support their ability to adopt and adapt” to changes in practice that digital transformation can bring.

To map the framework to the workforce, the publication uses the following roles: pharmacy support staff; foundation pharmacy technician; advanced pharmacy technician, senior leadership pharmacy technician; foundation pharmacist (newly qualified); advanced pharmacist; senior leadership and consultant pharmacist.

HEE has made estimates on the level of digital literacy required for each of the roles, and used the mapping to recommend available training courses that are relevant to staff and the framework – with “relevant digital themes” stretching from information governance and cybersecurity, through to electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA), data sharing, apps and wearable technologies.

As well as considering barriers and solutions facing pharmacy in areas such as interoperability, the report maps the self-assessment framework to the staff roles and groups, and illustrates through tables what each course can offer in regard to competency levels in 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.

Recommended teaching providers in the report include everything from Microsoft, HEE and the British Computer Society to FutureLearn and NHS Digital, with a broad range of courses covering topic areas as diverse as health informatics, the power of data, clinical risk management, social media in healthcare, AI and GDPR, as well as basic digital literacy skills.

Read the full report here.