Why the NHS’s plans for data-driven healthcare don’t go far enough

The UK’s health minister has recently launched a new voluntary ‘code of conduct’ for tech companies working with the NHS.

The aim is to help the NHS get better value for money, but also ensure that patient data is safeguarded and used responsibly, which is obviously laudable and fully supported by digi.me

But it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough in terms of the harnessing the opportunity patient data offers – to individuals and the health service alike.

This is largely because it sees data about patients as separate from the patients themselves, missing the key element of dialogue and interation with them about their health.

Patients are not an afterthought, nor just a box check where you can get their consent for processing their data with minimal explanation.

Patients are what the NHS is for, and they should be front and centre of any code of conduct.

The world is moving – in welcome news – to more patient-centred care, rather than that centred around what best suits healthcare systems.

With patient centricity, the patient owns their health data locally, and this is something we enable at digi.me.

This provides a better and richer source of data for the medical community to use, but it does require patient consent and understanding.

If you put the patient first and make that the focus, a lot of the issues addressed by the code fall away.

Best of all, you will get a better end result for all players in the health ecosystem too, especially the patient which is always the end goal anyway.

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