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NHSX publishes strategy for digital clinical safety

20/09/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHSX has unveiled a strategy to improve patient safety through digital technology.

Stethoscope with digital charts

Named the Digital Clinical Safety Strategy, it has been developed with NHS Digital and NHS England and NHS Improvement, and builds on the national NHS Patient Safety Strategy

The strategy is aimed at accelerating the adoption of digital technology to improve the recording of medical devices implanted in patients at the point of care and establishing new information systems to collect, link and analyse outcomes by procedure.

It involves the collection of information on digital clinical safety through systems such as the Learning from Patient Safety Events Service, and an expansion of staff access to relevant training.

This will come with the development of registries to support detailed analysis of outcomes data.

The document also outlines a new model for digital clinical safety training, with a focus on patient safety specialists, chief clinical information officers, chief information officers, chief nursing information officers and wider frontline teams.

Currently digital safety activities are often left to the small group involved in designing, manufacturing, commissioning and deploying technologies, but NHSX said that as use of the tech grows there is a need for a dedicated strategy and for more staff to be trained in digital safety.

Opportunity for improvement

Natasha Phillips, chief nursing information officer and director of patient safety at NHSX, commented: “Digital technology offers an opportunity to improve safety in clinical care through better reporting and monitoring, but we also need to ensure that new digital technologies are introduced safely.

“We will be empowering staff with the knowledge and skills to ensure safety will help us build a culture where safety is at the heart of all that we do. 

“Through this Digital Clinical Safety Strategy, we provide a collaborative national direction towards the enhanced safety of digital technologies that is fit for the future.”

The strategy is underpinned by five commitments:

  • Collect information about digital clinical safety and use it to improve system-wide learning.
  • Develop new training materials.
  • Create a centralised source of information, including optimised standards, guidelines and best practice blueprints.
  • Accelerate the adoption of digital technologies to record and track implanted medical devices through the Medical Devices Safety Programme.
  • Generate evidence for how digital technologies can be best applied to patient safety challenges.

NHSX said that work programme for each of these will get underway and be monitored by a Digital Clinical Safety Board.

Image from iStock, Peshkov

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