CQC focuses on tech transformation in new draft strategy

CQC has published its developing strategy, including a focus on digital transformation and new services, ahead of a formal consultation process of the strategy in January.

The document highlights some of the changes the regulator wants to make, which is said to have been largely accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. An engagement process has opened to gather feedback on the draft strategy over the next two months.

The strategy document states: “new and innovative types of service started using new digital channels, and new restrictions have changed how services can deliver care. In this new world, we must also transform. We need to make changes to offer regulation that’s even more relevant and that benefits everyone, while managing risk and uncertainty. The learning from our response to COVID-19 is feeding into new ways of working to put us in a better place for the future to support services to keep people safe.”

“As well as changes from local health and care systems, the way people receive care has changed – powered and supported through new technology. The growth of artificial intelligence, the advances in data analytics and the proliferation of mobile communication all point to a future of care that lies in the dynamic working partnership between health and care services, those who work in them and the people who use them. We need to understand where digital services can meet people’s needs and improve their outcomes, and change the way we regulate these services.”

The strategy also focuses on inequalities in health and care across different areas of the country and different groups of people, and how this forms a fundamental part of the strategy to understand and drive change.

It focuses on harnessing data and analysis: “We now have IT systems that can handle large amounts of data, which will enable us to use artificial intelligence and innovative analysis methods. This replaces more manual handling of data to support intelligence-based activity and will ensure we interpret data in a more consistent way.”

“We’ll use our regulatory powers in a smarter, more proportionate way so we take the right action at the right time. Based on the best information available, and enabled by technology, we’ll be alert and ready to act quickly in a more targeted way, and tailor our regulatory activities to individual services and circumstances. We’ll be transparent with the data and information we hold on services and use innovative analysis proactively, including data science techniques, to support robust and proportionate decision-making.”

The body also highlights how it will regulate new innovations and technology effectively, whilst considering where the use of new technology might disadvantage some people and what is needed to mitigate this, so that nobody is left behind.

“We know the path to innovation is difficult; we want to use what we know as a regulator to create an environment where services can try new ways to deliver safe, high- quality care. We’ll support their efforts to improve care through clear advice and guidance and, with our partners, by taking a coordinated approach to regulating innovation in a proportionate way.”

In a blog post, Ian Trenholm, Chief Executive, CQC, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated change. We’ve seen new types of services developed at pace; new digital channels; and new restrictions on how services are delivered.”

“As the regulator of health and social care, we need to cement our place in that new world. As I’ve said previously, we’re not going to return to the way we worked previously — this will mean some big changes.”

View the early thinking on the priorities of the strategy here.