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New code of conduct ‘will build trust in use of health data’

22 February 2019

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A new code of conduct has been launched to enable the development and adoption of safe, ethical and effective data-driven health and care technologies.

The ‘Code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology’ recognises that a combination of new digital technologies and data-sharing across the NHS has the potential to improve diagnosis, treatment, experience of care, efficiency of the system and overall outcomes across the health and care system.

It is also essential that new solutions to improve the quality and safety of care, including data-driven technologies, are developed and used in a safe, ethical, evidenced and transparent way.

The need for a code of conduct was highlighted in the Accelerating AI in health and care report published by the AHSN Network, NHS England and Department for Health and Social Care last autumn. It has been developed in discussion with industry experts, academics, regulators and patient representative organisations over the last quarter of 2018.

The Innovation Agency’s Director of Digital Health Alan Davies, who is also Vice Chair of the national AHSN Network’s Digital and AI steering group, said:

“This new code of conduct is essential as we develop technologies which allow us to make smarter use of information about all of us; we need to broker a new era of trust with the public about how we use this data, to ensure people truly understand and have confidence in allowing the information to be used. We are rapidly moving towards the ability to predict diseases even before they manifest themselves, for instance through genome sequencing, using learning algorithms based on rich datasets.

“Public awareness and support for the use of their data will drive improvements in care – it is fundamentally important to have a code of conduct to build that support.”

 

The code of conduct has been published by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care and is available here

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