NHSX is working on a new assurance process for digital health technologies to be used in the NHS.
The move will ultimately involve standing back from directly assessing the applications available through the NHS Apps Library, instead relying on the market of app assessment services to work under a new, open NHS digital health standard.
It is aiming to complete the change by spring 2020 and said it is working with stakeholders on two key developments.
One is the creation of the digital health technology standard based on existing industry and health standards. This will combine elements of the existing digital assessment questions with other data and interoperability standards.
NHSX plans to publish a draft of the new standard for consultation in early 2020 and said it is especially interested to learn how user privacy should be managed and addressed.
The second step is the development of a clearer review, assessment and evaluation approach for digital health tools. This will involve publishing a list of external assessors accredited to apply the new standard, along with details of what is involved in the assessment process, the level of evidence required and the necessary technical standards.
The organisation said this should help developers decide whether to enter the NHS and care market.
Indra Joshi and Rhod Joyce of NHSX said: “At NHSX we have committed to giving citizens and staff the technology they need as well as creating the environment for innovation to flourish, and we believe that this new approach unites these two ambitions.”
Another element of the programme will involve NHSX working with the Accelerated Access Collaborative – which brings industry, government and the NHS together to remove barriers to the take-up of innovations – on a pipeline for the development of digital products against priority areas. This will involve guidance for developers through technical standards and regulations, enabling developers to connect with components such as NHS login, and matchmaking commissioners with developers.
The NHS Apps Library will remain live and continue to publish new apps for the time being.
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