Unit admin guide

PatientView gives online access to patients’ live renal results and other information. This page gives information for local PatientView administrators about how to use the system. About PV2.  There is a simpler page for Staff Users who aren’t Unit Admins; and a Patient User Guide and introductory videos. Unit admins should Contact us if you have a Q that isn’t answered here.

Edin-screenWhen you log in you’ll see your Admin Dashboard (pictured). This page explains it.

In the top row (which is the same for all users) note

  • The Messages heading, with a red circle indicating how many unread messages you have.  Click to read.
  • Settings, where you can change your contact details (enter a mobile number for when we add SMS messaging one day?), change your password, and add a photo. Please do that, it makes the site  more friendly, especially in messaging.

Some of the News items on the right hand side of your login page may be aimed at Unit Admins so please watch this.

Admin dashboard

  • Notifications (described below) summarises your unread messages and Admin tasks for your Group/Unit.
  • The Activity Graph shows Logons, Patient Count, and ‘Unique logons’ (number of patients  who’ve logged in this month; more about Stats). The drop at the end of the graph is because this month isn’t complete yet. We should hide that.
  • Statistics shows highlights (there is more under Groups; more about Stats), and lets you click directly to a list of users who have been locked out, aren’t/ are currently active.

How to view and manage patients

The Patients tab brings up your first few patients. Use the Search box at the top to find an individual. If your login gives you access to more than one Unit or Group, the Filter drop-down will also be useful.

Screenshot 2015-04-09 09.27.10Each patient has an Edit button and a downward arrow that gives a few options, explained below.

  • If no Last login date is shown, they’ve never logged in, or not for very many years.
  • You can sort on each column header (only really useful if you’ve narrowed down to a bunch of patients via the search function)
  • The downward arrow (illustrated above) to the right of Edit allows you to
    • View as Patient (see what they see, all their results, letters, info etc)
    • Reset their password
    • Send an email to verify their email address
    • Request their addition to another Group/Unit
    • Enter the ‘Delete wizard‘ to delete a user from your unit’s list.
  • The Edit button offers more:

Screenshot 2015-04-09 09.39.11Here you can change email, unlock logins, add identifiers.  The fields are the same as in the Create New Patient dialogue (see below)

  • Buttons at the top offer
    • Create New – add a new patient to PatientView
    • Add existing patient – add a patient who is already enrolled in PatientView at another unit/group to your unit’s list.

Add a new patient

Enrolling a new patient takes about 5 minutes, including envelope-sticking.  You must have a signed request from the patient, like the ones at the foot of this page. We are seeking to convert this to an electronic process.

  1. Hit the Create Patient button under Patients, and fill in the boxes:
    • Create a username (eg iainmackenzie66).  It must be unique – click on Check Username to ensure that it is.  The other reason for rejection is that a patient with the same email address or identifier (e.g. NHS number) is already registered. If so you will be offered the opportunity to add that user to the list in your unit, and you will not need to create a new login.  See add a user to another unit.
    • Enter an email address – carefully, as mistakes are easy and common.  email is now a compulsory field.  If the patient doesn’t have an email, or a family member’s email they can use, enter username@patientview.org (e.g. smithken56@patientview.org). email is used to notify patients that there are messages for them, or they can set up alerts so that they are notified by email when new results arrive. Don’t trust email addresses for anything important until they’re verified (see how to contact a patient safely). By clicking on the arrow next to Edit in the patient list, Send Verification email is one of the options.  Users can add or change their email later under Settings at the top right.  If you use the default strategy for a missing email address, please prompt them to enter one later.
    • You must add a Unit/Group. Click Add after that. For most users the only option will be your unit but some Admins have a choice.
    • Add an Identifier and click Add.  In the UK this must be the NHS/CHI number or equivalent. This number is used to aggregate data from multiple sources.  You can add more than one if they have both CHI and NHS numbers.  For a test patient you can use Non-UK unique identifier.  This should be 10 characters long and can include letters and numbers e.g. ESSEX12345.  Non-UK patients may be added this way – all data on them from any source must carry the same identifier. We must agree with you the format of numbers you will use to ensure no overlap with other identifier types.
    • Click “Create New” at the foot
    • The new login will appear in a green box at the top of your patient list – click PRINT to print it out without other data, suitable to post. Or copy it to send it by another means (see how to contact a patient safely).
  2. Set up data transmission in your local IT system.  The process for flagging patient records for PatientView varies depending on your IT system, and you should have local instructions.  This initiates regular transmission of new data to PatientView.
    • Check that their record has an NHS number and that it’s the same one!
    • If you know how, check that a diagnosis is recorded – this sets the information shown to the patient. (Method varies according to local system)
    • Similarly, if you know how, check that a Treatment code is recorded (not relevant to all specialties).
  3. Send the login to the patient’s registered address  along with leaflet, welcome letter including contact info for their local PatientView admin.  See contacting patients safely for more info.
    • Or, only if you are CERTAIN of their email address, paste the login into an email along with the content of the ‘Welcome’ letter.
    • Suggested text in the letter below, or:
  4. GP logins  GP practices who have received a PatientView invitation letter (typically triggered by a PatientView user request) will be able to access PatientView for their registered patients only. One admin login is created per GP practice. Upon logging in with this account, additional accounts can be created and issued to practice staff.

Add an existing patient to your unit

Clicking on this gives a dialog requesting a PatientView username, or an NHS (or CHI or equivalent) number, or a registered email address. You only need to enter one of the above fields, along with the patient’s date of birth for security purposes.  You’re shown a matching patient if there is one, and given the opportunity to add them to your unit ‘Group’.

  • You must also go through the steps under Add New above to set up data transmission from your centre.  You should only do this in response to a patient request although for this kind of supplementary ‘add’, many centres accept email or telephone requests.

Re-setting passwords and locked logins

Patients can reset their own passwords using the ‘Forgotten login’ link if they know their username, AND have an email address recorded in the system.  If they don’t, they are prompted to complete a lost-login form which will arrive on your Admin dashboard as a Request. You will:

  • Find the patient and click on the arrow to the right of ‘Edit’ – Reset password is one of the options. Note that the password is returned with the username; often it is the username that the user has wrong, so it is necessary to remind them of that at the same time.
  • Copy or press Print the new login.
  • Post it to their registered address with a new leaflet, OR
  • If they have a verified email address (check under Edit) you can paste it into an email it to them, which is quicker.

Locked logins  After a certain (quite high) number of unsuccessful logins a user’s account is locked.  This is to prevent humans or robots from systematically trying to guess passwords.  This is shown in the patient’s details when you click Edit.  Uncheck the box.  You’ll probably also have to reset their password as the reason they’ll be locked out is that they’ve forgotten their login.  As above, send it to their registered address or verified email address only. Locked out patients are listed under Notifications on your Admin dashboard. Click there to see a list so that you can unlock them before they ask.  

Don’t give out passwords over the phone unless you called the patient on their registered phone number and are sure it is them, or someone acting with their permission.

Add a patient to another unit or to a disease group or other cohort

Rare disease groups (Radar):  if you have been able to do this before, add at www.renalradar.org.  At present it isn’t essential to ensure they are in PatientView, although it is good practice to add them as this will be the route by which they can see their Radar data and get info links.  Further info to follow on this, and up to date info should be posted at www.rarerenal.org.

Add to another unit – e.g. if a patient is moving.  You can now request this online by finding the patient, clicking on the down arrow to the right of Edit, and sending a message to the administrator of the new unit/group.

Other cohorts – PV2 has a flexible mechanism for creating new patient cohorts (disease groups) that we will add more on soon.

Dealing with ‘Join’ and ‘lost login’ requests

Users can send you requests to join from the front page of PatientView, using the ‘I want to join’ button.

  • Some of these requests turn out to be from patients who are already registered – they’ve forgotten, or are confused, or have lost their login.  So that’s the first thing to check, along with their last login date if they are indeed registered.  Post a re-set password (and username) to their registered address.  Don’t email it unless the email given is registered to that patient.
  • Others are not eligible, they aren’t patients in your unit.  Send them a nice email to say that.
  • Others are eligible!  At present we are dependent on paper forms for signing up.  You should send them a leaflet and form and (ideally) a return envelope.  When you receive that, you can Add them and send a login as usual. Alternatively, your local unit may be happy for you to send a login and info to their registered address, with a form for signing.
  • Record (very concisely) in your Join request management tab what you’ve done and mark the request as dealt with.
  • Couldn’t you make that process all electronic?  We’d like to and are looking at that, but at present the approval we have from Caldicott guardians specifies that we have a written request on which they confirm they’ve read the info.

Users who have forgotten their login are directed to a similar form and these requests also appear in your Requests list. See Re-setting logins.

  • Mark the request as dealt with and it will disappear.

How to contact a patient safely

  • Send logins only to registered addresses
  • Only send email to an email address that is confirmed in a patient’s PatientView record, or call their registered phone number to confirm.  (And send a message to verify a new email too).  Don’t include any personal info in emails unless the patient has confirmed they’re OK with that.
  • Messages to unit admins sent within PatientView now use its secure messaging system.  Other users must have messaging ‘switched on’ for them individually to be able to receive messages.  More about secure messaging.
  • Unencrypted plain email with patients is regarded as less safe, and if you use this method with patients they should be aware of that, e.g. use a phrase such as “The NHS does not recommend using email for sending sensitive data”.  Unencrypted email is no longer essential with secure messaging inside PatientView.  With that, you get an email telling you when there is a message for you to log in and read.

Correct an error in patient data

PatientView shows data sent to it, it doesn’t generate new info itself.  So errors need to be corrected at source and re-sent. Standard data transmissions either include the last 10 items under each heading, or are set up to send all changed or new data items, so usually errors are corrected automatically.  You can also trigger a re-send of data on a particular patient manually from your local electronic record system.  But for older results, or results sent with an incorrect date, these automatic mechanisms may not work.  If so:

  • First, in your local system (EPR), correct the error.
  • Then in your local system’s PatientView management interface, manually re-send data for the date-range in which the error is found.  e.g. if it was for a Creatinine result on 14/4/2001, re-send data for 14/4/2001-14/4/2001.  You can choose a wider range also.

If the error is a date in the future, you may not be able to fix that and it may require us to do something at our end manually.  We don’t allow that kind of error in data transmissions now, but did in the past.  For this kind of problem or other uncorrectable errors, contact the helpdesk.

Delete a letter uploaded in error

If a letter is uploaded to the wrong patient’s record in your local record system (EPR), it is also sent to the wrong patient’s record in PatientView.  When you delete it from your EPR it will not necessarily be deleted from the wrong patient’s PatientView record, or not immediately.  So we have added a ‘delete’ button next to each letter when you view a patient’s record as a Unit Admin.  Therefore follow these steps:

  • First delete the letter from the wrong record in your local system. If you don’t do this, it is likely to be repeatedly re-sent to PatientView.
  • Log in to PatientView, find the patient, View Patient, go to Letters, and delete the offending letter manually.
  • PATIENTS CAN DELETE LETTERS TOO. This can be useful if duplicates have been sent, and allows them to remove letters that they are uncomfortable with having visible in this way.
  • Deletions will be recorded in logs.

If any info displayed looks different from that displayed in your local system

  • First check that it is recorded as coming from your unit (patients may be registered at multiple locations)
  • Go to the Log tab, enter the patient’s identifier, and if there are a lot of entries you can filter for Patient Data Upload.  Then you can click on the XML which will show you the data received from your unit, to confirm what was received by PatientView.
  • If the XML is showing the correct info but PatientView is displaying something different,  contact the helpdesk.

Delete a patient (remove their data or just login)

We have refined this process with a new Delete Wizard in PV2.  Click on Delete from the dropdown to the right of Edit and follow the guidance there.

Mrs Nephron is moving to another unit

She should ask to join PatientView at the new unit. Info from all the units and specialties that a patient belongs to is integrated into one record. As above, many units are happy to accept this request by email or phone for patients who are already enrolled.  The Unit Admin at the new unit goes to Patients tab and clicks on Add existing to add them to their list.  Then (and only then) a Unit Admin can remove them from the list at the unit they attended previously (see Delete a Patient, paragraph above this one).  All accumulated data will be preserved on PatientView.

  • Also switch off data sends from the old unit (i.e. remove the PatientView flag/ un-enrol them in your EPR).  Otherwise you may get alerts about files being refused by the PatientView server.
  • If a patient is coming back occasionally (e.g. a transplant unit, regular holiday or business destination), it is OK to remaining enrolled at multiple units.

Alter a username

This is sometimes requested when a patient’s name changes.  Unit admins can do this in the Edit patient dialogue.

My patient has both an NHS and a CHI number (or similar)

In the Edit Patient dialogue, add another identifier.  This will amalgamate records.  If a patient has two identifiers of the same type (of course this shouldn’t happen), ideally records should be amalgamated at your centre.  However if that is not possible, a work-round is to re-define their NHS/CHI number as a non-UK unique identifier, then add the correct number.  Again, the records will amalgamate.  More complex Q?   Contact the helpdesk.

How to manage staff

Adding staff

  • The process for adding staff is very similar to the process for adding patients.
  • You must give strict guidance on login security.  Security for staff.  Leaflets for staff that emphasise this are available.
  • Unit Admins should review their staff list occasionally.  Delete leavers, check on those who haven’t logged in. Do they need an account?
  • ‘Add existing’ enables one member of staff to have access to more than one unit.  This is appropriate for example for some admins where IT systems cover multiple units, and for some clinical staff, e.g. perhaps transplant coordinators.
    • Eek! I get a message that there’s a user with this username or email – but I can’t find them on the list! This indicates they were a user, but have been deleted. We keep them hidden in the background so we don’t lose audit trails. Contact the helpdesk by PatientView message or by email to get them Undeleted. They will be restored to their original role and features (next bullet), but you can edit these once they are back.
  • ‘Features’ allocates specific staff roles, described below under Specific Staff Roles.

Security for staff

  • Healthcare data is confidential.  Members of staff should not access data on patients they do not have responsibility for.  A detailed audit is kept of who has accessed each record.
  • Staff logins must not be shared. Patients may choose to share their login but staff must not do this.
  • Keeping logins secure (not written down; passwords that are difficult to guess) is essential.  If you think your password may have become known to someone, change it.

Staff user types

Staff users can see the records of all patients signed up to PatientView in their unit, and use secure messaging. They cannot add or edit users.

Unit admins can in addition

  • Add, edit and delete patients
  • Add news posts that can be seen by patients or staff users (or both) at their unit
  • Edit Unit contact details under ‘Groups’
  • Re-issue passwords if users have forgotten them
  • Track the usage of any account
  • See usage statistics for their unit

Specific staff roles

These are added as Features when you create staff users, or by clicking on Edit in the staff list.  At present available features are around who receives messages when users click on the Send a Message button beneath the Contact tab. Screenshot 2015-04-09 10.07.01

  • Default Messaging Contact. Every group/unit must have at least one of these so that at least one person is able to respond to user queries sent through the Contact tab. More than one is wise to cover absences.
  • Patient Support Contact – if set, this staff user receives ‘Missing or incorrect details’ and ‘Feedback’ messages (indicated in the screen snip). The Default Messaging contact will cease to receive these types of messages.
  • Technical Support Contact – if set, ‘Technical Support’ receives ‘Feedback on technical issues…’ The Default Messaging contact will also cease to receive these.

The ‘Default Messaging Contact’ user(s) must be set for your unit, whereas the two support contact features are recommended, but remain optional.

Groups and units

  • Patient cohorts (Groups, Units)
  • Add new units (link to another page)

In PV2, Units are one kind of Group. PV2 offers a wider variety of cohort options than PV1 and we’ll expand info on this later.

You can see details of your unit under Groups, where the two options are Stats (below) and Edit.  Under Edit:

  • You can change your unit’s full or short name, and address
  • Short name is used to show the origin of data; keep it as short as you can while making it clear where it is.  e.g. Edin, Fife, Exeter, Bristol, QE2, Heartlds,
  • Add/edit additional contact points for your unit, e.g. diabetes nurses, dialysis units, PD team, social work, dietitians.
  • Add/edit contacts for PatientView in your unit.  You must have as a minimum a PatientView admin email, and usually you should make this user (and their email) the Default Messaging Contact (one of the features under Staff users). Otherwise communications about the system won’t work, including the ones from us.
  • You can add specific info links for your unit, for example if you have patient info pages. Patients see these beneath info links for diagnosis and treatment under the My Conditions tab.
  • Features – such as Messaging, anonymous feedback mechanisms, are listed here.  At the moment you need a Specialty Admin to switch these on for you.

Messaging and feedback

Notifications on your dashboard

On your landing page when you log in you will see Notifications.  This indicates

  • How many messages are waiting for you
  • How many  Join requests and Login-reset requests are waiting
  • Alerts if your unit doesn’t have key responsibilities allocated (default messaging contact, patient support contact, technical contact).  Note that if support or technical contacts aren’t identified, all queries will go to your Default Messaging Contact (more about this).

You can click on the text to go to Messages, Requests.

Statistics and CQUINS

View stats by clicking on Groups, then Stats.  Monthly totals under each heading are shown

  • Patients – total numbers of patient users registered at this unit
  • Logons – total number of logons this month
  • Unique logons – number of your users who have logged on this month (note that this is a shifting population each month, for instance driven by whether they’ve had tests or not)
  • Patients added – new patients added this month.
  • Imports – number of data files received this month
  • Imports failed – number of files not interpretable.  (For centres sending via the Renal Data Collaboration in Bristol, this should now be very low as errors should have been identified in a preliminary step).

CQUIN reports (NHS England’s quality targets) – the stats here are those that CQUIN asks for.  The only other figure you need is your unit’s RRT patient total.  You relate your users/logins to that.


See what a user has done or who has viewed a record by going to the Log tab.  The latest activity in your unit is shown, and you can search for any user (staff or patient), and interrogate what they have done, and in the case of staff, which records they have looked up. We began counting views in Feb 2007.  The best way to learn what the logs can do is to explore a bit.

  • Actor = the user doing it
  • Patient view = looking at a record (it’s the very last of a long list of actions you can interrogate on the drop-down of Actions)

By filtering for different Actions, you can show each one individually for a single patient or staff user (put username or NHS number into the identifier box, then filter).  Patient data imported is often useful – it shows you when data was uploaded for a patient, and by clicking on the XML link you can see exactly what data was sent.

Write a News item

  • Under News, Click on Create News.
    • You can add some simple html, e.g. bold text and links. Click on ‘How do I add html’ just beneath the text box.
    • You must add ‘Groups and roles’ or nobody will see your message!  e.g. you can choose to show it to staff users, or just to patients, or to all logged in users.
    • Then click on Create News Item.
  • You can edit news items you’ve created previously.
  • Remember to check and clear out old news items from time to time.
  • Specialty admins can post News items that are visible to all units.
  • You can post a ‘Featured Note’ which is shown when patients first log in.

With all News/Notices

  • Be really concise.
  • Use a short heading, and make the first few words enticing so they click more, but not “you will be amazed what she found…” that’s not our style.

Other questions

  • I’m getting lots of failed file emails
  • More questions?

I’m getting a lot ‘failed file uploads’  If you are getting a lot of these usually the problem is in the construction of the XML in the file, or in its encryption.  These faults, if recurrent, have to be corrected at your end.  An example is a result with a date in the future.  Contact your IT supplier if the problem isn’t obvious.  Our helpdesk may be able to help diagnose.

More info

  • Background information about RIXG
  • About the PatientView project
  • Documents: Enrolment forms that you can add your local details to, and letters for sending to patients and GPs are moving to the foot of this page but at present may still be at the foot of www.renal.org/rpv
  • News * (PV blog) and News on this site (latest items shown to the right on this page).  Note that we also post important messages for Unit Admins on the PatientView site, look at the notices on the right hand side there when you log in.
  • Videos and more on how to use PV (with some links to Youtube*, but mostly aimed at patients); Recruitment toolkit for renal units
  • Contact the PV steering group – contact us if you want to ask about joining, the permissions process via Caldicott guardians, or if you have any ideas about things that PV should do, or could do better.


We are moving these across from renal.org/rpv. Have a look there if it’s not here yet.

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