SPARC Prescribing Companion App FAQs
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Surveillance and Prescribing Support for Antimicrobial Stewardship Resource Capacity Building
This resource aims to answer some of the ‘frequently asked questions’ about the App.
The Commonwealth Pharmacists Association ( (CPA) is a registered charity, supporting pharmacists to strengthen healthcare systems through the safe and effective use of medicines.The Prescribing Companion App is part of the CPA’s SPARC programme; supporting antimicrobial stewardship ( AMS) in human and animal health, in up to 22 countries across Asia and Africa. The App aims to increase access and awareness to prescribing guidelines and good practice resources at the point of care; fostering shared learning between countries across human and animal health and aligning to the global One Health approach.
The PCA is a curated platform of Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) resources to support prescribing in human and animal health. There are six sections;
- Infections and infectious disease Prescribing
- Other common clinical conditions
- International AMS and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC)
- COVID-19 Resources;
- Animal Health section
- Interventional Recording
Each individual country, and not the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association, takes responsibility for reviewing and keeping the guidelines and resources up-to-date, for their country section.
The App has been developed under the strategic direction and governance of the CPA - working in conjunction with Tactuum, an established digital health provider based in the UK. All content for the country specific prescribing guidelines in human and animal health is provided by individual countries and uploaded on to the App, with CPA oversight.
Anyone with a smartphone device can access the App via google store or Apple IOS platform. Once downloaded, the App is available offline and will require updating from time to time. There is a website version as well, which requires internet access.
To note, the App is intended for use by healthcare professionals, as a reference resource. It is not intended for use by the general public and does not replace the advice of a healthcare professional.
The App is funded by a UK Aid grant from the Fleming Fund with ring fenced funding up to 2027.
The CPA funding covers training and a range of resources including workshops on content editing and video tutorials to each App Champion alongside a help desk run by Tactuum. These resources aim to support App Champions in maintaining the App such as uploading new guidelines and keeping existing guidelines and other information up to date. Alongside these resources, there is a 9 am to 5pm GMT help desk run by Tactuum to help deal with technical issues.
The CPA have appointed in-country App Champions to help provide content and technical support over the next 5 years. The App Champion is responsible for the rollout, uptake and maintenance of the App in their country, working collaboratively with the developer (Tactuum) to ensure full integration and ownership of the App and its contents. Sustainability is further supported by a series of free training videos and resources, developed by the CPA team.
The App has ring fenced funding up to 2027. After these 5 years, there is no further funding or support available, covered by the CPA. We hope that within this time, countries will have identified the usefulness of the App as a prescribing tool in-country and will be in a position to decide on next steps e.g. to continue using it, expand and customise the functions to a local context, or let the licence lapse.
The core prescribing module for human health which includes international AMS/IPC resources has been developed by the CPA. Part of this module links to international animal health resources from trusted third party websites including WHO, FAO and CDC, which auto update when new updates are available.
Country content like National antibiotic guidelines are provided and owned by countries. These are uploaded to the App ‘as is’ with no content alterations. These guidelines are cross-checked by UK registered Pharmacists for accuracy through a tight CPA defined governance framework before they are uploaded on to the App.
Yes you can. All the guidelines on the App are open access for everyone. They can be accessed via the burger menu (3 lines) in the top right corner of the App; by clicking on the cloud icon in the bottom right corner of the app, you will get a list of countries and can download guidelines from any country.
The SPARC programme closes in September 2022. By this time, we hope that each of the 22 countries will have a dedicated App Champion. The App Champion is responsible for managing their country content on the App, which includes uploading the newest version of their country guidelines. The App developer Tactuum can help to provide technical assistance. If your country does not have a dedicated App Champion in place by the close of SPARC, please contact the SPARC team on SPARC@commonwealthpharmacy.org and we can work with you to organise this.
The scope of SPARC is to collate any available guidelines into the App, as a one-stop digital tool with easy access, at the point of need. Our remit currently does not include guideline development.
We are however acutely aware of the global scarcity in animal health guidelines and are looking at different ways on how we can support guideline development e.g. establishing a network of experts. If this is something you are interested in, please contact the SPARC team on SPARC@commonwealthpharmacy.org
All country specific guidelines are fully developed, owned and managed by the individual country. This includes any additional content such as intervention tools, audit tools etc. . Following launch of the App, the in-country App Champion is responsible for managing their country content, which includes uploading the newest version of their country guidelines and additional resources.
Any international resources available are fully owned by the respective organisations e.g. WHO, CDC and these are embedded in the App as live links to these third party websites, which auto update when new updates are available.
The CPA is supporting each country to appoint an App Champion. The App Champions are responsible for managing their country content on the App, which includes uploading the newest version of their country guidelines and any other content, into their country section via the Content Management System (CMS). The App developer Tactuum will provide technical assistance and training resources to do this.
We are able to collect data on use and activity within the App and website such as which guidelines are commonly accessed, hits per page etc. This data is owned and managed by the CPA, for internal use only and to help improve App functions and use.
As part of the customisation, individual countries are able to upload Microsoft forms in the form of audit tools, surveys etc to collect specific data. The data generated by these tools is only accessible and owned by that individual country and is password protected.
The CPA co-owns all data collected around general use of the App with Tactuum and fully owns all microsoft forms it develops, for example the intervention recording form. All data collected is anonymised, for internal use only to help improve App functions and use. Data generated from country-specific customised microsoft forms uploaded to the App is only accessible via the country App Champion and owned by that individual country.
Access to the collected data on the App is controlled through secure login and permissions for named individuals. Each country will be given access to their country specific data site/sets as required, via their App Champion.
No login details are required, you should be able to freely download the app from the Google Play or iOS App store and access the content without a login. Once you open the downloaded App, you will only need to accept the terms and conditions of the Disclaimer.
The App has been designed to minimise the need for internet access, all country specific guidance is available offline once the App is downloaded. Where information such as international guidance/resources are on an external site e.g. WHO, company websites etc an internet connection will be needed. The website is only available online.
There is no difference between the website and App content. The main difference between the two portals is internet connectivity. The website can only be accessed if you are online.
The messaging function on the App requires internet connectivity. Notifications are available as push or In-App, depending on how this has been set up. Your App Champion can set up the messaging functionality via the Content Management System (CMS) and customise as per country requirements.
The size of a download varies, with 10-25 MB being a common average. If video and sound is stored this can increase the download size.
Tactuum will provide technical support Monday – Friday 9am - 5pm (GMT- UK time) through a running licence for the next 5 years. For critical or urgent requests, they aim to respond within 4 hours of receipt of notification. For any technical enquiries about the App you can contact them on: email@example.com
If you have any questions, or are interested in engaging with us you can get in touch through SPARC@commonwealthpharmacy.org. A member of our team will be happy to connect with you.