The NHSX have been conversing with the developers who want to build technology for the NHS for the last year, and have realised there are many frustrations with the way the NHS currently assess the digital tools and apps. The processes are complicated and time-consuming which means the hundreds of technologies are not able to help the staff and patients quickly or safely enough. Another issue that has been identified is that there are no reliable ways for digital health innovators to get into the NHS to supply their technologies.
The NHSX are going to focus on streamlining and evolving the reviewing of the health innovations. They will be enabling external expert assessors to help with reviewing digital health technologies against a new NHS-recognised standard for digital health.
In 2015, the NHS Apps Library was established, but now 5 years later there are many experienced app assessment services that can undertake the task according the high standard the NHS has set. This will help innovative digital solutions be assessed quicker and more efficiently ensuring that more people benefit from them more timeously.
The NHSX have committed themselves to “creating the environment for innovation to flourish” and “giving citizens and staff the technology they need”. This new approach to assessing digital technology solutions better and faster than before unites these two ambitions.
Dr Mark Harmon from eConsult, has recently gone through the NHS Apps Library and they are busy streamlining the technology so that there is an open standard assessment framework. This will allow the procurement and decision making processes to be made faster which will help the NHS adopt safe, relevant and innovative technologies faster than ever before.
The NHSX will continue to listen to and working with stakeholders to do develop the following:
- A open and new Digital Health Technology standard recognised by the NHS
They are developing an external standards body which will start to consolidate an open Digital Health Technology standard based on health and industry standards. They hope to publish a draft by 2020 which will include the new standard for consultation and focus on how user privacy should be assessed and managed.
- A clearer assessment, review and evaluation for digital health tools
Developers will have sufficient knowledge on how to enter the NHS care market as there will be a list published of external accredited assessors who apply the Digital health Technology Standard. The technical standards as well as level of evidence will also be provided so that informed decisions can be made when it comes to service providers.
Digital technologies to be presented to citizens and staff
The NHS Apps Library will still be live and will be publishing apps that meet the standards of the Digital Assessment Questions on the NHS website. The NHS assessment apps will also still be found through search engines as usual.
A route market needs to be created for digital health innovators
The NHSX want to communicate to the innovators that they will know exactly what it is the NHS needs so that the products are tailor-made for the market. Developers will hace acces to all the technical standards and regulations helping them connect with NHS login and connecting the developers to the commissioners. The NHSX will be working with the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The new model NHS Apps Library is planned to be ready by spring 2020, and the NHSX are positive that digital health innovators, the NHS, staff and citizens will benefit from this new technological era.