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