Beware the IDES of DTAC – A “heads-up” for all developers of MedTech Apps

Anyone involved in the development of Medical Apps needs to be aware that from March this year NHSx have introduced the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) for health and social care which is intended to provide staff, patients and citizens confidence that the digital health tools they use or purchase meet clinical safety, data protection, technical security, interoperability and usability and accessibility standards.

DTAC will form the new national baseline criteria for procurement of digital health technologies by the NHS and social care. It is designed to be used by suppliers to build technology and healthcare organisations to build and to buy technologies that meet NHS minimum baseline standards.

The intention is to ensure that Innovators build their applications to meet proportionate and tangible criteria and the purchasers have the assurance that the products they select are safe and well built.

Apps will be assessed against 5 core areas:

Clinical safety to ensure that baseline clinical safety measures are in place and that organisations undertake clinical risk management activities to manage this risk

Data protection: to ensure that data protection and privacy is ‘by design’ and the rights of individuals are protected

Technical assurance: to ensure that products are secure and stable.

Interoperability: to ensure that data is communicated accurately and quickly whilst staying safe and secure.

Usability and accessibility: to ensure that products are allocated a conformity rating having been benchmarked against good practice and the NHS service standard.

The arrival of DTAC signals a move away from the branded NHS Apps Library and instead will highlight apps on condition specific pages of that are available to all so that appropriate apps and products are visible in the right places for procurement organisations and citizens.

Accreditation through DTAC, whilst not mandatory YET, NHSx have said they will keep this under consideration and it is already being used by some Trusts and systems to procure video consultation products in secondary care and these Trusts have indicated their chosen suppliers must be DTAC assessed if they are to qualify for the national funding available to support embedding and spreading of video consultations in secondary care settings. This is likely to become the norm for selection of all products in the future

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