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Luckily, 6B has the technical expertise and practical knowledge to help digital health innovators navigate the unique assurance processes in healthcare including DTAC.

The NHS introduced the Digital Technology Assessment Criteria (DTAC) to provide an industry standard for legislation and best practices covering clinical safety, data protection, technical security, and standards in interoperability, usability and accessibility.

Its introduction means two things:

  1. It will provide us with a consistent and proportionate level of framework to follow, meaning our lifesaving digital solutions can get to market quicker.
  2. For providers, it will offer much needed reassurance that the technology we use meets strict standards to protect staff, patients and the communities they serve.

DTAC assessment explained

The DTAC assessment is a direct response to the uptake in digital adoption across the whole healthcare system.

In the past, there were too many grey areas for individuals responsible for NHS buying decisions to assess potential suppliers by. The knock-on effect of this is that organisations and the communities they serve to protect were being put at risk by partnering with technology solutions that weren’t compliant.

Now, if any supplier wants to introduce a piece of technology as part of an ongoing partnership with an NHS provider, they will have to complete a DTAC form and provide any relevant evidence to support their application.

Each of the scored and assessed sections of the DTAC will contain the following information:

  • a reference code for each question
  • the question for the developer to respond to
  • whether evidence is required and is so the evidence
  • response options or free text
  • supporting information and guidance
  • scoring criteria

The DTAC assessment acts as a vital component of the procurement process, helping organisations complete due diligence and judge whether a new supplier meets the minimum baseline of standards before embarking on fulfilling a contract of proposed work.

It provides healthcare organisations with a definitive framework to assess the eligibility of the suppliers and their products, whilst outlining the standards that suppliers are expected to meet in order to gain entry into and benefit from a continued partnership with any NHS organisation.

5 core areas of the DTAC assessment

The assessment criteria for DTAC can be broken down into the following five core areas:

  1. Clinical safety: as part of clinical risk management, all new products are assessed to ensure they follow clinical safety procedures.
  2. Data protection: to protect sensitive and confidential patient data, all new products are assessed to ensure to uphold patient privacy.
  3. Clinical assurance: products are evaluated to ensure they are secure and stable enough for widespread deployment.
  4. Interoperability: to ensure the seamless and secure sharing of information, all new products undergo rigorous testing so data is relayed accurately and securely between disparate systems.
  5. Usability and accessibility: to ensure products remain easy to use and accessible to a wide range of users, a score will be generated to allocate conformity with existing systems.

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