About the Customer

Located in the UK, the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) is a leading international learned society for specialists in the fields of pharmacology, clinical pharmacology, therapeutics and drug discovery. Founded in 1931, it is now a global community of almost 5,000 members from over 60 countries. The Society’s members are active in research and teaching that covers a whole spectrum of science related to drugs and medicines pharmacology, from basic laboratory research through to their application in healthcare.

Business Needs

The BPS has created the Prescribing Skills Assessment (PSA), an online assessment platform for institutions and organisations looking to measure and improve the skills of healthcare professionals in relation to prescribing and supervising the use of medicines. 8,500 trainee doctors sit the PSA in the UK each year and it is a compulsory part of their training. Without a pass in this high-stakes assessment to demonstrate they are safe prescribers they cannot progress into further training as a doctor.

Originally developed using PHP, we took over the support and development of the PSA platform in August 2015. The BPS was facing a few security limitations for this version of the platform and they were looking to rebuild it using new technologies (.Net Core 3.1).

As a part of rebuilding the platform, they were looking at the following requirements:

  • To replace the current PSA system ‘as is’ with the branding details provided by BPS
  • Create a scalable platform, removing the cap on the number of simultaneous students who can take the high stakes exam (previously the limit was 1,200 students)
  • To incorporate the ability to deliver the exam in multiple jurisdictions, in multiple languages, and referencing a localised but linked drug bank
  • To create an extensible platform to support eLearning and journal publishing in the next phases of development

Our Work

As we were providing the support for their old PSA platform, we proposed a required solution and technologies to rebuild the platform. BPS handed over the project to develop the intended PSA platform. Our team worked closely with the BPS stakeholders to develop the new PSA platform.

Some of the key highlights of our solutions were:

  • Building a scalable application which can be hosted on the cloud (AWS). 
  • The load testing for 10,000 simultaneous users.
  • To build an eLearning website with customised templates.
  • Creating SSO login/logout functionality
  • Upgrading to the latest version of the .Net core framework
  • Optimising entity framework queries for better performance.

Business benefits

The new PSA platform has been a great success. It delivers training in more than fourteen countries worldwide to tens of thousands of doctors and pharmacists who are prescribing medicines on a daily basis. Recently, the platform supported a major PSA event for about 5000 students taking the online examination. We did not get even a single issue from any medical students during this online examination.

We received appreciation from the BPS team for successfully delivering the new PSA platform. 

“Our platform is a sophisticated authoring, peer review and assessment build environment with an underpinning question item and drug banks. We needed the platform up and running within eight months. In view of its complexity and the timescales involved I thought after thorough testing that there would be a great deal still to get right but I barely had anything to report. I just wanted to let you know how well I thought this work was done – a fantastic job.”

– Peter Wright, Head of Technology & Delivery, British Pharmacological Society