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NHSX unveils digital health tech assessment

24/02/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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NHSX has unveiled a new assessment process to ensure digital health tools meet NHS standards.

Doctor holding digital icons

Named the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC), it is aimed at simplifying and speeding up the process for NHS and social care teams. 

The criteria is based on a draft version that was released in October and has received feedback from over 800 stakeholders.

It brings together legislation and best practice in five areas. Tools will receive a pass or fail in four categories - clinical safety, data protection, technical security and interoperability - and a score on usability and accessibility. 

It will apply to all types of digital health technologies, from public facing health apps to digital systems used within hospitals such as electronic patient records.

All parts of the NHS, from hospitals to CCGs to national bodies, and social care will be encouraged to use the DTAC when they are looking at which digital health products they want to use.

NHSX said this should provide reassurance to staff and patients that the digital health tools they use meet national NHS standards.

Supporting innovators

It should also help innovators and developers understand the standards they need to meet to offer their products to the NHS.

The criteria is already being used by trusts and systems as they procure products to provide video consultations in secondary care over the coming year; their chosen suppliers must be DTAC assessed if they are to qualify for national funding available to support embedding the use of video consultations.

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said: “The new Digital Technology Assessment Criteria is designed to give staff, patients and citizens confidence that the digital health tools they use meet the NHS’s high standards.

“Digital health technologies are used throughout the NHS, and increasingly in social care, to improve patients’ experiences, increase access to services and reduce the burden on staff. The new assessment process will identify the digital tools that meet NHS standards on clinical safety, cyber security and data protection from amongst the thousands available in the market and do it more quickly than before.” 

NHSX said it is now working to ensure DTAC is used across the NHS and becomes the default criteria against which all digital health technologies that are considered for use.

Image from iStock, Natalie Mis

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