New guidance to help NHS patients benefit from digital technology

Speaking at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo conference, health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy announced the initial technology partnerships Code of Conduct for Data-driven Health and Care Technology.

The code encourages companies to meet a gold-standard set of principles that will protect patient data and make sure only the best technologies are used by the NHS, to bring real benefits to patients.

The code of conduct will:

  • ensure the NHS and taxpayers get a good deal on future partnerships with technology companies
  • allow the government to work with suppliers to guide the development of new technology, so products are suitable to the NHS in the future
  • set clear guidelines on how NHS patient data is protected
  • allow the best data-driven technologies to introduce benefits to patients and staff faster

The code has 10 principles setting out how the government will make it easier for companies to work with the NHS and what the NHS expects in return. The aim is to make it easier for suppliers to develop technologies to tackle issues such as dementia, obesity and cancer.

AI technology is already being used across the NHS to:

  • improve the early diagnosis of heart disease and lung cancer
  • reduce the number of unnecessary operations performed due to false positives
  • help research by better matching patients to clinical trials
  • support the planning of care for patients with complex needs

Lord O’Shaughnessy said:

Artificial intelligence and machine learning is a field that is moving at lightning speed and has tremendous potential across the healthcare sector.

That is why I am pleased to announce that we have today launched our initial technology partnerships Code of Conduct – 10 principles which set out the rules of engagement between industry and the health and care system. These principles provide a basis to deepen the trust between patients, clinicians, researchers and innovators.

This is an important first step towards creating a safe and trusted environment in which innovation can flourish to the benefit of all our health.