NHSX have just released their new Digital Technology Assessment Criteria for Health and Social Care (DTAC)

NHSX has just unveiled a new simpler and faster assessment process for digital health technologies intended for NHS and social care.

The new Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) gives health and social care staff, patients and citizens confidence that the digital health tools they use meets prerequisite NHS standards.

This new national baseline criteria is also designed to be used by suppliers and healthcare organisations as they build new technology and to ensure the purchase of technologies that meet the NHS minimum baseline standards.

The DTAC was developed in response to requests from builders of digital tech as well as those making commissioning decisions. It is important for all stakeholders to be aligned when it comes to the requirements expected of digital health tools. The new (DTAC) criteria can now be ‘built in’ during product development and should ensure that these technologies are compliant ‘by design’. This also then sets a measurable scale for the assessment process, to ensure that the products are safe, built well and ‘fit for purpose’.

Setting this national baseline should ensure a smooth path between development and procurement, so that the NHS and social care may realise the benefits of digital technologies.

So what’s in the assessment criteria?

The assessment criteria is focused on 5 core areas. Sections 1-4 form the assessed criteria, with a separate conformity rating provided around usability and accessibility:

  1. Clinical safety: assessed to ensure that baseline clinical safety measures are in place and that organisations undertake clinical risk management activities to manage this risk
  2. Data protection: assessed to ensure that data protection and privacy is ‘by design’ and the rights of individuals are protected
  3. Technical assurance: assessed to ensure that products are secure and stable.
  4. Interoperability: assessed to ensure that data is communicated accurately and quickly whilst staying safe and secure.
  5. Usability and accessibility: products are allocated a conformity rating having been benchmarked against good practice and the NHS service standard.

You can find out more by looking at the DTAC scope and specification, which is available in this NHSX document (ODT, 132KB) that you can download and print.

Note: Please be mindful that this document may be periodically updated so please do check you are looking at the latest version if following the NHSX link.

Matt Burton