Every flow of data across the NHS should be consensual, safe and transparent. Following the Caldicott Review call for a continuing conversation, Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt has asked for an “NHS App” by September 2017. Since he made that request, there has been no visible progress.
Additionally, patients should not have to work out how the NHS works in order to use digital services.
One of the pre-requisites is a login system for patients that works across the NHS – how many usernames and passwords should people have to remember?
The savings from avoiding missed appointments (via the “choose and book” system) can only come if patients can log in to change their appointments, and aren’t put off by terrible technology.
We’ll have more on patient identity shortly, but the GP managed login, and password reset process, is sufficient for now (it’s not perfect everywhere, but the other suggestions of perfection are untarnished by the requirements of delivery or reality).
Using Gov.UK Verify’s providers would require every patient to only receive care in the name they have legal documents for. Facebook may insist on a real name policy, the NHS should not. There are many reasons it does not.
So what might a good digital app start to look like?
Here’s our thought experiment: