Health tech: a new organisation and two new codes of practice

Tuesday, 26th March 2019

Blog by healthcare committee chair, Charlotte Lewis. This blog first appeared on the Mills & Reeve website here.

The creation of NHSX, the new joint organisation for digital, data and technology is to launch in April with it being fully operational in October 2019.

NHSX is the umbrella unit for the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS Improvement and NHS England. It is described as the organisation that will take forward “digital transformation” in the NHS.

But will it improve the digitisation in the NHS? Interestingly, Digital Health News is asking readers for their views on whether it will have an effect.

The plan for NHSX is to take forward the Health Secretary’s tech vision which underpins the NHS Long Term Plan using experts in technology, digital, data and cyber security. Change has been slow, says the Department because “responsibility for digital, data and tech has been split across multiple agencies, teams and organisations.” NHSX will change this by “bringing together all the levers of policy, implementation and change for the first time”.

Commenting on NHSX, Sarah Wilkinson, chief executive of NHS Digital said: “we view NHSX as an important and welcome initiative and we are absolutely committed to working closely with…NHSX”.

NHSX’s chief executive – currently unconfirmed but rumoured to be Matthew Gould, currently Director General for Digital and Media, will take responsibility for the following:

  • setting national policy and developing best practice guides for NHS technology
  • setting standards for the use of NHS technology
  • improve clinical care by delivering, user-focused projects
  • ensure that NHS systems can talk to each other across the health and care ecosystem
  • supporting the use of new technologies by the NHS
  • ensure that common technologies and services, including the NHS App, are designed so workload and effort are not increased
  • reforming procurement – help the NHS buy the right technology through the application of technology standards and new procurement frameworks that support NHS standards
  • setting national strategy and mandating cyber security standards
  • developing digital training so we have a digitally savvy workforce
  • delivering an efficient process for technology spend and website security

In addition, the Department has published two new codes of conduct on artificial intelligence and data-driven health and care technology – designed to make it easier for suppliers to develop technologies that meet a gold-standard set of principles to protect patient data. Underlying the codes is a desire to ensure that the NHS gets the best deal in technology and AI techniques industry can offer.