PRSB response to NHSX Digital Clinical Safety Strategy

The PRSB welcomes the publication of NHSX’s 1st digital clinical safety strategy, which identifies the need to make tech safer for use and proposes ways for digital systems to improve clinical care and mitigate risks before they occur. The PRSB advocates for the safe use of information standards for safer patient care and encourages the adoption of information standards to create the system interoperability needed for safer use of digital and better patient outcomes.

PRSB’s core purpose is to develop information record standards that underpin digital records for better, safe care. PRSB’s standards digitise critical information safely and allow for this information to be recorded in a common way that is shareable and readable across different computer systems in different care settings, for care at the point of need. The report recognises standards’ role in solving safety challenges and states that improving digital clinical safety is dependent on improving data quality and creating interoperability between systems.

The report sets out the strategy around three priorities, ‘Insight, Involvement and Improvement’, which encompass improving the dataset of patient safety intelligence, equipping staff with tools and training to use health technologies well, and employing digital systems in specific procedures and treatment for safer care.

Digital technologies need to be put in to practice to realise their potential and have an impact on care, and the strategy identifies that implementation guidance is needed for the healthcare workforce to implement digital tools safely and effectively. PRSB is focused on ensuring our information standards are implementable in a range of care settings and our Partner Scheme is designed to help software suppliers integrate PRSB standards with their digital products before they are installed into healthcare providers’ digital systems. This year we welcomed 3 software companies as Quality Partners, having demonstrated that they conform with 1 or more PRSB standards.

‘At NHSX we work closely with the PRSB and other partners to drive the adoption of standards to support better care and improved interoperability. This new partnership scheme is an important contribution to developing a truly joined up health and care system’ – David Turner, Chief Technology Officer, NHSX.

The strategy highlights the Medical Devices Safety Programme as key to improving patient safety, whereby implanted medical devices are recorded and tracked by technologies. The aim of the project is to establish a database where information from these devices can be recorded and analysed for device safety, auditing and to enable shared decision-making.

Shared decision-making between people and their clinicians can lead to better outcomes such as early identification of risks before they occur, allowing clinicians to be proactive rather than reactive in response.

PRSB has developed a draft standard to record the information drawn from shared decision-making conversations to facilitate person-centred care. NHSX’s developing devices registry will have a shared decision-making component and it will be aligned with the final iteration of PRSB’s shared decision-making standard.

‘This timely report is a much needed digital update to the NHS’s patient safety strategy. For the digital transformation to be realised, guidance on how to use technology safely and how to improve clinical care is essential’ said Professor Maureen Baker CBE, Chair, PRSB.

‘The strategy recognises the critical importance of information standards for safe and accurate data transfers, which will create the system interoperability needed for safe and better use of digital technology in health and care. PRSB welcomes the strategy and encourages full adoption of information standards for safer care and better clinical outcomes’. 

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