Press Release

Doctorlink selected for CQC Digital Triage Regulatory Sandbox

The collaboration between the Care Quality Commission and Doctorlink will guide regulatory policy for innovation in healthcare technology 

Doctorlink, the UK’s leading Symptom Assessment provider to the NHS, will help shape future policy guidelines for the use of health apps across the UK under a collaboration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

As part of the regulator’s Digital Triage Regulatory Sandbox, Doctorlink was selected to lend its expertise in the development of a new regulatory model for digital platforms within health services. The health tech company is one of just six organisations chosen by the CQC to join the select working group for the project.

The resulting report identified a high level of variation among digital triage apps and highlighted the importance of a collaborative working group to set a consistently high standard of patient care and outcomes. 

The CQC report also emphasised the critical importance of involvement from other high level stakeholders in the healthcare industry, including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), NHSX and the International Standards Organisation (ISO). 

Healthcare technology is increasingly common in primary care as the NHS approaches its goal that every patient will have access to digital-first primary care by 2023-24. The sandbox examined new digital solutions in the health and social care system to consider how regulatory policy could be designed to foster and support innovation. 

Suzanne Ash, Head of Governance and Medical Device Programme Lead at Doctorlink, commented: “At Doctorlink, we are uniquely placed to bring together the knowledge of talented tech teams with the experience of clinicians and medical experts. That combination is what allows our platform to help clinicians cope with demand and operate at the top of their license, knowing that the technology is grounded in good clinical evidence.

“We were thrilled to be selected for the Care Quality Commission’s regulatory sandbox. For us, this offered a unique space where commercial interests could be put to one side, to be open about the challenges new models of care bring and focus on what really matters, how we can continue to innovate to achieve the best possible outcomes for patients. We are committed to the intentions and outputs of the sandbox and keen to ensure the relationships and momentum we have built through this process evolve to ensure patients continue to benefit from rapid development in digital technologies.”

Doctorlink Head of Governance and Medical Device Programme Lead Suzanne Ash is participating in the latest CQC podcast, ‘Staying Up With The Curve: how CQC is improving its approach to technology and innovating in health and care’, available here on Google podcasts and from other podcast providers. The Doctorlink app covers 1,350 GP practices and is available to 10 million patients in England. Doctorlink has also recently been selected for the GP IT Futures Framework.

‘Sandboxing’ is a term used for a diverse working group collaborating to share experience and agree best practice, is a new approach for the CQC, which has also launched regulatory sandboxes for machine learning in diagnostic services and community care at-home teams.

Read the article on Med-Tech Innovation News here

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