As someone that is fascinated by technology and particularly digital health technology, it’s hard NOT to take notice when things work well.. and conversely, when they don’t.
Information Governance Professionals – Gatekeepers or Facilitators?
Following a recent trip to North America, like many others, I used my biometric passport, (also referred to as an ‘ePassport’) through the eGates to speed up the entry back into the UK. I simply scanned my passport and the system automatically matched my face to the chip and pin, and without any delay, I was on my way again.
While some may consider this ‘big brother’ watch, I was particularly impressed at the speed of this processing because it was in large contrast to the experience I had at a connecting airport on the way to America where I was met with crowds of people impatiently queuing for what felt like hours, waiting for immigration officials to manually process them one at-a-time, so they could again move closer to their next destination.
As I stood there day-dreaming among the crowds, I began to reflect on the information governance that would have been required to make innovation such as the eGates available (a sad insight into my inner world!), so that people just like me can have a better, more streamlined experience.
It reminded me of the work that we do here at 8foldGovernance. Information governance and compliance professionals are often misunderstood and considered to be ‘gatekeepers’ – a bit like the immigration officials who are required to diligently check that everything is in order before opening the gates to let you through. However, this couldn’t be further from the reality.
The reason we like getting into the weeds of the clinical safety requirements for a product or completing the checks and balances on personal data flows that need to happen before a health monitoring device can be used safely by patients at home, is because we want to see them being used! Yes, we want to see the devices and software that helps to book an online appointment via a booking system, or the device that allows a prescription to be changed to be adopted by the health system, so we can ALL have that fuzzy feeling you get when tech makes your journey better, easier and generally slicker.
Information governance and compliance – as underpinned by DTAC (Digital Technology Assessment Criteria), is not about gatekeeping and making it harder for technology innovators and adopters to deploy health software. Nor is it a tick-box exercise that provides a stamp of approval at the end of it. It is the ‘MOT’ of health-tech that allows people to drive the car safely and in the process, shorten the journey.
“..Do I need to be DTAC compliant?”
Many organisations get in touch with us during the early stages of their journey to market, wondering if they need to be ‘DTAC’ compliant, for example. But, there are also those for whom safety, information governance and compliance is after thought – often, one in response to a NHS or client request. That’s where we come in. Our job is to assess the software on all spectrums, ensuring it is fit for purpose and that it complies to the highest standards for clinical safety, data protection, technical security, interoperability, usability and accessibility, all within the established NHS frameworks.
It isn’t simply a pass or fail criteria, we take the time to really understand the software – its benefits and features, before totally immersing ourselves in the technology and looking at it from every possible angle – whether that is from a data or user perspective. We then place markers where we perceive there may be a risk to people or their data, and we work with our customers to mitigate those risks, until we are 100% confident the product or software is safe and effective for the healthcare market.
As a team of ex-NHS professionals that have worked on the frontline at some point, we deeply feel a sense of responsibility for facilitating the implementation of digital health technology. We make it our job to ensure that the NHS standards are applied with honesty and integrity, so that the technology that we put our names to, is fit for purpose and is safe and effective for end users – whether that is for patients, NHS staff or citizens.
Successful completion and implementation of the NHS standards that we support, such as the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC), DCB0129/ DCB0160 or the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT), provide the confidence and assurance that the public are looking for when using these technologies. For our customers, it speeds up their journey to market and enables them to more effectively scale in the healthcare arena.
The 8fold team
During a recent team meeting, we discussed several projects that are underway. And, I know that I am seriously biassed, but nevertheless I was overwhelmingly impressed at the team’s aptitude, professionalism and their ability to always put the end user at the forefront of the decision making process. This is something that we are increasingly supporting our customers towards as we work with them to prioritise user benefit and safety alongside building their business.
So call us gatekeepers, facilitators or just information governance ‘nerds’ as we are sometimes called – but, overall consider us a trusted partner for information governance and compliance. ..And, maybe next time you pass through those eGates, consider what it really takes to make technology safe and effective – not just for people like me or you, but for everyone.
Can we help?
If you need for support with any of your information governance and compliance needs including, DTAC, DSP Toolkit and Clinical Safety (DCB0129 and DCB0160), please get in touch for quick no obligation chat.