EQL has always advocated for digital health to be regulated, believing that health technology companies and those buying and commissioning digital health technologies need clear direction on what is ‘good’.
According to independent reviewer ORCHA, there are roughly 370,000 health-related apps available online, with 250 added to the app store every day. With so many health apps on the market, a standardised evaluation framework is vital to give staff, patients and citizens confidence that the digital health tools they use meet clinical safety, data protection, technical security, interoperability and usability and accessibility standards.
The launch of the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria for health and social care (DTAC) in February 2021, aimed to achieve just that. DTAC, which was developed by the NHSX, allows healthcare organisations to assess suppliers at the point of procurement or as part of a due diligence process.
For health technology companies such as EQL, it sets out what is expected for entry into the NHS and social care market, giving a clear direction on how to build ‘good’ digital health technologies by design. It provides a national baseline, smoothing the path between development and procurement and allows the NHS and social care to realise the benefits that digital technologies can bring.
By bringing together legislation and recognised good practice it also allows any app that passes the DTAC assessment to demonstrate that it is safe and built well.
DTAC is a voluntary regulation but, as EQL is keen to exceed regulatory requirements, Phio was submitted for assessment.
Products are assessed under a pass/fail criteria in four areas: clinical safety, data protection, technical assurance and interoperability (ensuring that data is communicated accurately and quickly whilst safe and secure). In addition, products are benchmarked against good practice and the NHS service standard and given a percentage score for usability and accessibility.
“We’re delighted to achieve this certification and recognition. The essence of what we do at EQL is making it work in practice, so that patients can rely on getting what they want and need.”
We are proud to advise that Phio has passed the assessment criteria and scored 100% on the usability and accessibility rating. This result is particularly important for EQL as its mission is focused around making healthcare accessible. Phio has been built with that key mission in mind — keeping user-centricity at the heart of its innovation.
DTAC represents a demonstration of good practice defined by the NHSX digital standards. Rowena Tunks, EQL’s Clinical Governance Lead said: “We’re delighted to achieve this certification and recognition. The essence of what we do at EQL is making it work in practice, so that patients can rely on getting what they want and need.”