NHSX unveils new digital health technologies assessment

NHSX unveils new digital health technologies assessment
© iStock-Panuwat Sikham

NHSX has unveiled a simpler and faster assessment process for digital health technologies used in the NHS and social care.

The new Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) is a rapid process that can be completed in days, which aims to help give staff, patients, and the public confidence that the digital health tools they use meet NHS standards.

The NHSX criteria will equip local and national NHS and social care teams with the guidance they need to choose the correct digital health technologies they should be buying and recommending to patients, and 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.

Quality digital healthcare

The simple new guidance brings together legislation and best practice in five areas. The 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.

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 and spreading of video consultations in secondary care settings.

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.”

The new criteria will also help innovators and developers understand the standards they need to meet to offer their products to the NHS, whilst offering a faster and simpler assessment process which can be completed in days.

Lord Bethell, Minister for Innovation, said: “The new Digital Technology Assessment criteria will not only be easier for staff to use, but will provide the reassurance that all digital health tools from the NHS meet our high standards. These improvements are another example of innovation and our ambition to constantly strive for better technology to improve digital health.”

NHSX will be working over the coming months to ensure DTAC is embedded with local NHS organisations and in procurement frameworks so that anyone buying in new digital health products is first assessing it against DTAC.

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