NHS Digital welcomes the Department of Health’s announcement that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be given the power to rate digital GP tools.
The Department of Health has announced that the CQC will rate all providers of care in England and they must display those ratings so that patients can clearly see safety standards.
NHS Digital said that the new changes will aim to ‘future-proof’ a ratings scheme by covering services which could be developed in future so as to give patients the best possible protection.
The NHS Digital programme director for apps and wearables Hazel Jones said: “We welcome the introduction of the CQC’s new rating scheme for digital GP tools, which supports the NHS-wide aim to provide reassurance and trusted advice around the growing number of digital healthcare tools available. This rating scheme will complement the NHS apps library, which aims to provide trusted digital tools for patients and the public to manage and improve their health.
“The library, which is still in test phase, currently includes a small number of GP apps which have all been assessed by the CQC. The requirement for CQC assessment is part of the set of digital assessment questions developers work through before an app is published on the library, which are jointly owned by the specialist organisations responsible for them.”
The CQC’s powers will also cover ‘digital doctors’ to protect patients in the healthcare app industry. The expansion of the CQC’s regulatory power gives it access to inspect independent community health services and independent doctors.
David Behan, CEO at CQC, said: “CQC’s ratings of health and care services are helping people to make informed choices about their care as well as supporting providers to improve. Never before has the public had such clear information about the quality and safety of their health and care services.
“CQC already inspects and publishes reports for these additional services and so, the ability to award ratings to them will bring increased transparency for the public about the quality and safety of their healthcare. We look forward to taking this work forward in the New Year.”