Designing and building products and services

Resources for people developing services and technologies in health and social care.

Developing a Digital Health Technology Standard

To improve the way the NHS assesses technologies for use by patients and staff, NHSX is developing a Digital Health Technology Standard (DHTS). This will consolidate existing industry and health standards, encompassing efficacy, safety, security, data protection, robustness, stability, interoperability, usability, accessibility and responsibility. 

The aim of the DHTS is to help developers understand what is expected of them, and speed up and streamline how health technologies are reviewed and commissioned for use in the NHS. 

Between February and April 2020, with industry engagement partner MedCity, we consulted widely with external stakeholders on a draft DHT Standard

While some planned engagement activities had to be scaled back due to COVID-19, we held a number of online workshops as well as face-to-face discussions at events and forums.

Additionally, we widely promoted the draft standard and an accompanying online feedback survey. We received 140 completed survey responses and 1,573 comments from a range of representative stakeholders including digital health companies and industry associations, NHS clinicians and managers, and national health and care system organisations. There was also a good regional spread of respondents.

There was strong and broad support for the concept of consolidating and collating existing standards and guidance, however there was also a call for further clarity on the purpose, use and scope of the document. An alternative name to ‘standard’ was requested, to distinguish what is an overarching blueprint, from individual industry standards such as ISOs. Stakeholders also highlighted the need for any assessment of digital tools to be proportionate to the type of technology and the life cycle stage of the product. A new draft of the document is well underway taking on board all of your comments, and is due for publication by autumn 2020.

During the pandemic, with NHS Digital, we continued to assess COVID-19 specific digital health technologies against the Digital Assessment Questionnaire, publishing these tools onto the NHS Apps Library. You can read more about that here.

The DHTS will form a key part in the decentralised approach to assessments.

We will update further on this in autumn 2020, and in the meantime you can get in touch with us at dhsnx@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Data-driven health and care technology

NHSX wants to make the NHS a world leader in developing ethical and safe data-driven technologies. Find out more information on what AI is, why AI matters, what our AI lab will do and the tools and guidance we have developed to support innovators in this field.

Evidence standards framework for digital health technologies

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has worked with partners to develop a standards framework to make sure new technologies are clinically effective and offer economic value.

NHS developer network

NHS Digital's NHS developer network includes technical information, software tools, source code and data for developers who are designing and building software for use in health and social care.

NHS digital service manual

The digital service manual helps NHS teams design and build consistent, usable digital services that put people first. It includes:

  • the NHS.UK frontend library
  • prototyping kit
  • design principles
  • UI styles, patterns and components
  • content style guide
  • accessibility and other practice guidance