12 September 2018
In September 2018 the UK government published an initial code
of conduct for data-driven health and care technology.
Designed to provide advice to health and care providers on
choosing appropriate technology that is secure, safe, legal and
effective, it builds on the Data Ethics Framework
(updated 30 August 2018).
Apart from providing guidance to health and care providers, the
code of conduct is designed to set out what the UK government
expects from the technology industry when it engages with the NHS
and wider health and care systems.
Whilst the UK government recognises that data can transform the
health and care of citizens, due to the evolution of how data can
now be manipulated, the code of conduct (in part) appears to have
been produced because of the cognitive services trend in the
sector. For example, a vast quantity of data is required to surface
valuable insights using AI to support the rapid development of
tools to improve operational efficiency and machine learning driven
algorithms. This together with the drive toward intelligent
clinical decision support tools to provide better and safer care,
means the NHS and government have a stronger duty than ever to
steward the use of data responsibly.
The code of conduct aims to provide clarification of what is
expected of suppliers, how innovators will be supported and routes
to market for the supplier. In addition, the code aims to provide a
basis for ongoing engagement with patients, clinicians and the
wider public. Using ten defined principles the code sets up the
basis for helping to build a safe ecosystem for AI, demonstrate and
validate appropriate safeguards, use best practise to raise
standards, evidence transparency and accountability, create
competitive advantage for the UK health and care market and build
the partnerships needed between health and care providers, patients
and the industry as a whole to benefit from the potential benefits
that AI can provide.
If you provide cognitive services to the UK health and care market
and plan to introduce related products, then the code is available
to provide guidance. Furthermore, suppliers can voluntarily sign up
to the code and participate in its evolution. AI (and use of data)
receives a lot of media coverage and is a highly emotive subject
for patients, therefore this code is a great step in ensuring that
patients can be the gatekeepers of their own data and be more
engaged in their own care, whilst providing commissioners with the
evidence to make informed procurement decisions.
The code can be downloaded from - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-conduct-for-data-driven-health-and-care-technology/initial-code-of-conduct-for-data-driven-health-and-care-technology
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