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Spine Mini Services Provider

CareMotive’s Spine Message Handler (SMH) is now accredited for operation as an ITK-compliant Spine Mini Services Provider (SMSP) for access to both the Personal Demographics Service and the Child Protection – Information Sharing system.


Our SMSP is suited to the following types of application:

  • Batch data quality improvement for demographics, e.g. obtaining or confirming NHS numbers, or retrieving the full PDS demographic record
  • Real-time interrogation for the purpose of data quality improvement by systems such as integration engines
  • User initiated querying, e.g. to confirm or obtain an NHS number when registering a new patient on a local system
  • Automated or interactive access to looking up CP-IS records


The key benefit to system vendors of interrogating PDS or CP-IS via the SMSP is that NHS Digital do not require the solution to be put through a compliance process. NHS Digital publish a self-certified approach called a Target Operating Model that addresses clinical safety, operational readiness and Information Governance issues.


Functionality and features

SMH implements the ITK SMSP specifications in full; offering the five service calls of:

  • verifyNHSNumber
  • getNHSNumberSMH ITK message list and payload
  • getPatientDetailsByNHSNumber
  • getPatientDetailsBySearch
  • getPatientDetails
  • getCPISRecord

The PDS data items returned are:

  • Usual name
  • NHS number
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Gender
  • All addresses
  • All telephone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • GP Practice details

The CP-IS data items returned are:

  • The start and end dates of any Child Protection Plan that is in place
  • The start and end dates of any Looked-After child status that is in place
  • The start and end dates for a Unborn Child Protection Plan
  • A history of any accesses to the record


To ensure that our SMSP comes up trumps for even the most demanding of use cases, CareMotive has licensed Open Mapping Software’s Smart+Search technology.

When looking up NHS numbers from the 5 key demographic fields (family name, given name, date of birth, gender, and postcode), small errors in any field can reduce the success rate, to as low as 60-70%. The challenge is to find out which wild card search will work for each lookup – requiring time-consuming manual retries for each person.

Using the demographic fields and the results of failed searches (no match, or multiple matches) Smart+Search intelligently chooses the next SMSP search to make, until it succeeds or no match can be found for that person. This can raise the success rate of SMSP searches from 60-70% to well over 90%, with no manual retries.

It can also accept batches of any number of demographic records, returning them with added NHS numbers and spine demographic data in any format for re-entry into your database – rapidly and without long delays.

Deployment models

CareMotive’s SMSP is offered on the basis of deployment to the end-client site, i.e. co-located with the systems that interrogate it, or on a shared, hosted managed service basis.

All SMSP queries and responses are stored in a database. To achieve maximum performance for locally installed applications, an embedded database is used, but for hosted managed service deployments or where sophisticated access to the queries and responses is required for auditing data quality, a separate database server can be used.

Client System Interfacing

To ease the task of interfacing to SMSP, CareMotive have written a client-side library which makes accessing SMSP calls extremely simple. This library is currently available as a Java library and a .Net DLL.

Architecture & Deployment options

To ensure performance and rapid response times to SMSP queries, and in contrast to other existing SMSPs, there is just a single server in the chain, i.e. the box on which SMH is installed, and it is this box that talks to PDS.

CareMotive’s SMSP is offered on the basis of deployment to the end-client site, i.e. co-located with the systems that interrogate it, or on a shared, hosted managed service basis (available through the GCloud framework if required).

CareMotive’s SMH is written in Java and hence can be (and is) deployed onto a wide range of computing platforms.

SMSP Web App

If you are not ready yet for a fully integrated solution, you could consider using our SMSP Web App, a simple web application that offers your users interactive demographic lookups and submission of batch files.