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COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport:
Putting staff in control

The NHS wanted to accelerate the delivery of Digital Staff Passports (DSP) to support staff movements in the early stage of the Pandemic in March 2020. Normally, staff movements require rigorous pre-employment checks that assure the safety of patients that involve mountains of paperwork.

CASE STUDY

03 December 2021 | Sitekit

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THE CHALLENGE

To support the Covid-19 response, the NHS approached Sitekit Group to lead a consortium of providers to implement Digital Staff Passports to streamline and accelerate the sharing of information, allowing staff to move quickly without the burden of paperwork whilst maintaining the safety of patients.

In place of paper proofs, information is transferred securely by the staff member through their own smartphone, putting them in control of sharing. Security is maintained using Verifiable Credentials and Decentralised Identifiers – World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards that support a rapidly emerging capability to securely share personal information.

The success criteria for this project have demonstrated a reduction in direct and elapsed time, meaning staff are available to work sooner at multiple sites for the safe and sustained response to the Covid vaccination programme. The DSP has recently extended to Clinical networks because of this success criteria.

THE SOLUTION

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Issue and Verify Web App (Staff Passport Portal)

The Passport digital process required a new capability for hospitals to be able to issue and verify credentials, such as the special Covid-19 Employment Credential. Sitekit Group and partners built and delivered a Staff Passport Portal issue and verify service that is now deployed in over 100 hospitals around England. The Portal:

  • Enables HR Departments to access a staff member’s passport.
  • Allows a wallet on a smartphone to connect to the Portal so that a staff member can review and accept credentials into the wallet on to their phone, either face-to-face at HR or online.
  • At the NHS organisation the staff member is moving to, the staff member makes a connection with the hospitals’ HR Staff Passport Portal and their credentials can be checked.
  • As well as the Covid-19 credential, the wallet contains a digitally-signed photograph which is used as a traditional “eye-ball” check with the staff member – similar to the checks that are conducted at border control with a traditional passport.
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Working with Workforce Systems

The COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport issue and verify service works with the Electronic Staff Record, which means that the HR staff member does not need to fill out an empty form of information. If the staff member is already on ESR, the attributes can be transferred to generate a Verifiable Credential that is issued to the staff member’s passport.

The approach used to develop the API that enables ESR integration and incorporate it into the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport could be adopted to enable other services such as bank and rostering systems to directly issue credentials.

In the future we expect the Digital Staff Passport to support the issuing and verifying of credentials directly, such as DBS, GMC and Post Office.

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Wallet

For Covid-19, Sitekit Group implemented the Evernym Connect.me wallet and associated Sovrin network infrastructure. Sitekit have also led a proof of concept exploring the use of Microsoft authenticator. Sitekit is testing alternative wallets and infrastructure from Microsoft, Trinsic, Yoti and the Post Office.

OUR HISTORY WITH DIGITAL IDENTITY

Sitekit, along with our sister company Condatis, are proven digital identity leaders with a track record of developing, designing, implementing, and supporting identity solutions at scale for the UK Government and, more recently, the NHS. The Sitekit Group have delivered identity solutions to the Department for Work & Pensions, the Department for Food, Environment & Rural Affairs and the NHS as part of the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport programme.
FIND OUT MORE DIGITAL STAFF PASSPORT

SERVICE DESIGN

Delivered outline business case and full business case examining use cases and benefits case for implementation of Digital Staff Passports. Identified savings per Trust, and identified key use cases that would enable NHS to realise benefits.

Led on the envisioning of the solution, delivering early concept designs and blueprints to support industry collaboration at INTEROpen Staff-Access hackathon, demonstrating the use of the technology to address pain points identified by NHS E&I / NHSX.

Sitekit iterated the solution in line with NHS requirements over the course of 2020-21, enabling the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport to support the military in administering the vaccine rollout in England.

Delivered outline business case and full business case examining the use of Digital Staff Passports in the context of collaborative banks. As part of this proposed target architecture for collaborative bank POC based on in-depth analysis of requirements, user needs, supplier solutions and available technology.

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION

Sitekit has provided guidance to the NHS team at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and NHS England & Improvement, based on our experience of delivering major digital transformation programmes. This support has been led by the Sitekit CEO and Product Owner as a member of the NHS project meetings. Sitekit has been able to provide expertise in areas where the NHS did not have capability or capacity. These include training for adoption and end-to-end visual tools to support benefits realisation. Most importantly, a team from Sitekit undertook the GDS audit and Focus Groups on behalf of the NHS to ensure that user research was embedded into the delivery process during the development stage and used to test out the biggest assumptions about how the service works for its users.

SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE (SaaS)

The Staff Passport Portal is offered as Software as SaaS using Public Cloud infrastructure. The issue/verify service can be readily implemented at a site using a combination of automated deployment tools and implementation and training assets. Sitekit’s ITIL-aligned service desk provides 1st, 2nd and 3rd level support for DSP live operation.

The Staff Passport Portal SaaS embraces the complexities of Verified Credential ecosystems, decentralised public key infrastructures, public/private key access, and revocation of credentials on multiple wallet and associated infrastructures. This complexity is largely hidden through APIs that offer interfaces and protocols that are familiar to developers such as Open ID Connect and OAuth.

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