Newsflash: Digital Health Services and the CQC

Building on the CQC guidance issued in March this year for digital health providers (see the CQC has issued an update on issues uncovered in a number of recent inspections, particularly in relation to online prescribing.

Four providers have been named of which one has had its registration suspended until the end of June, and the others were variously issued with warning notices, requirement notices, and conditions. Matters of particular concern noted included one organisation reviewing patient questionnaires in as little as 17 seconds before prescribing and a warning to another about it not having robust systems in place to verify the identity of patients.

Whilst the CQC doesn’t yet have the powers to rate online healthcare providers, it expects to have them in due course.

All of this should act as a sign for those currently operating (or considering operating) online healthcare businesses that active regulation by the CQC is increasing and that online healthcare and prescribing is by no means exempt from the kinds of safeguards and procedures that would apply in a more traditional setting. Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice is quoted as saying: “This might be a new way of working but the risks and responsibilities need to be understood and action taken in response. As the regulator of health and social care, we will continue to play our part in guaranteeing this.”

For more information or advice on this developing area, please contact our Healthtech team.