Sensyne welcomes code on data-driven health and care technologies

Alicia Farmer
September 9, 2018

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has set out plans to make the NHS an ecosystem for the best technology available.

This ultimately leads to the loss of lives due to patients being given sub-optimal care because systems can't communicate with each other.

Hancock gave an honest account of where the NHS is at in terms of interoperability, cyber-security and culture regarding the adoption of new technology.

He said: "Now is the moment to put failures of the past behind us, and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology to improve our health, make our lives easier, and make money go further, harnessing the wonderful explosion of innovation that the connection of billions of minds through digital technology has brought this world".

Hancock also announced that the NHS App will be piloted across five sites before it is officially launched at the end of the year.

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This means that from next month, patients in Liverpool, Bristol, South Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Hastings will be able to use the beta version of the app to book appointments, view their medical records, order repeat prescriptions and access NHS 111 online, as well as several other services. The Advisory Board, which is being chaired by Dr Ben Goldacre, will also act as an ideas hub for helping improve patient outcomes and the lives of NHS staff.

But the technology relies on use of data, and the government and NHS have strong duties to ensure the data is secure and protects patients' rights and identities, so the public has trust in the new technology and the NHS as an organisation.

"Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us, and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology to improve our health, make our lives easier, and make money go further, harnessing the fantastic explosion of innovation that the connection of billions of minds through digital technology has brought to this world".

The Technology Partnerships Code of Conduct sets out 10 principles that outline how the government expects AI tech firms to work with the NHS to make it easier for them, but also the NHS's expectations if patient data is used.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, welcomed the announcement. "That has to change, and we all have to accept that it will challenge working practices and those who constantly find reasons why we should not adopt new ways of delivering care. We need technology that can run basic tasks and processes more efficiently", Hancock is expected to say. "Genomics and AI will also transform what we do and how we do it".

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