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Code of conduct for NHS data technology

Code of conduct for NHS data

A NEW code of conduct covering data-driven technology in the NHS has been introduced. The move was announced by Health Minister James O’Shaughnessy and is aimed at ensuring technology and data are forces for good in healthcare. Speaking at the launch during the Health and Care Innovation Expo, he highlighted the huge potential to improve patient care through data and data-driven technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine leaning.

He 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.”

The code’s 10 principles frame the use of health and care data around ethics and effectiveness. The principles show the steps needed for success and include guidance on how data should be kept secure; how it should be used; how projects should be monitored to ensure effectiveness; and a push for open standards.

The code also sets out five commitments from the government to help embrace innovation in the field of data-driven research and treatment. These include simplifying regulations and the funding landscape; creating an environment that allows for experimentation and innovation; and to improve interoperability through clear, open and public data standards.

The report points out that the rise of data-driven technology combined with increasing amounts of electronic health and patient data mean there is the potential for huge benefits in patient care. It adds: “AI is being used on this data to develop novel insights, tools to help improve operational efficiency and machine learning driven algorithms, and clinical decision support tools to provide better and safer care.

“This presents a great opportunity, but these techniques are reliant on the use of data that the NHS and central government have strong duties to steward responsibly. Data-driven technologies must be harnessed in a safe, evidenced and transparent way.” Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “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.”

Read the full code of conduct here.

Published: 22 October 2018

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