NHSX and NHS Digital to fast track COVID-19 apps and similar tech

NHSX and NHS Digital are to fast-track and evaluate apps and technology that support the response to COVID-19.

The organisations will assess solutions based on its current Digital Assessment Questionnaire, which looks into technical and policy details such as whether the technology is inline with national standards, regulations and industry best practice.

The assessment also looks at clinical effectiveness, data protection and how users benefit. In May last year NHS Digital introduced the process to streamline the mechanism and approval process into the NHS Apps Library.

Any apps and similar technologies that are not directly related to supporting the response to COVID-19 will be paused.

With an increase in new products and technologies to support the response, the organisations are collaborating to focus on those that need fast approval and assurance.

Once accredited the technology will appear on the NHS Apps Library, specifically under a section for COVID-19. 

There are currently two technologies listed in this section of the NHS Apps Library:

  • Corona-Help.UK, a website based, anonymous chatbot. It asks you questions about your experience with coronavirus, including if you have any symptoms, are staying at home or are currently self-isolating. The data can be downloaded by medical researchers and decision makers to help them understand how coronavirus might be spreading around the country and how to manage it.
  • The Pando app, a secure communication and collaboration tool. It has been designed to help anyone working in health and social care.

In a blog post from NHSX it stated “We’re working on ways to make these even more visible with our colleagues at NHS.UK. Completing the assessment allows a company to state that their product or service has been assessed to the NHS standards, and that it has met those standards in any communications or press notices released. However, it does not allow the developer to state that the product or service has been ‘endorsed’ or ‘approved’ for use by the NHS.”

NHSX said it has recently received hundreds of offers of products or services to support the response to COVID-19.

If you have a technology ready for review against the standards, please email or click here for further details.