Health tech: supporting it to thrive

Digital and data-driven technology has a big part to play in the delivery of health and care services – and the emergency of the novel coronavirus and the subsequent pandemic has driven an increase in the use of digital technology to facilitate remote consultations.

With the approach to using digital tools in healthcare provision undergoing a substantial shift, the Department of Health and Social Care’s recently published updated guide to good practice for the use of digital technology in health and care will be welcome news for innovators and suppliers to the NHS.

First published in September 2018, the guide is designed to support innovators in understanding what the NHS is looking for when it buys digital and data-driven technology for use in health and care. Its intention is to smooth the path between development and procurement.

The guide contains 12 principles that set out what is expected from suppliers and users of data-driven technologies. The aim is to make it easier for suppliers to understand what the NHS needs from them, and to help health and care providers choose safe, effective, secure technology to improve the services they provide.

The guide is an update to the original Code of Conduct for Data-Driven Health and Care Technologies where the principles relating to data in the original Code have been grouped under Principles 6 (data protection) and 7 (data transparency) in this document. Guidance on technical assurance, clinical safety, and regulation has been expanded and now comprise their own chapters. The document has been updated to reflect the latest position, for example, in light of Brexit and the creation of the Centre for Improving Data Collaboration.

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