Babylon Health, the online GP consultation service, has said it is has a ‘duty’ to point out the ‘shortcomings’ of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in inspecting providers of digital health services.
Babylon Healthcare Service Ltd, which allows patients to pay for a 10-minute video call with a GP, claimed a CQC report, containing criticisms of the service, included ‘inaccuracies’.
Babylon made a legal challenge in the High Court to prevent the CQC from publishing its report.
Having listened to the legal challenge, the High Court ruled on 8 December that the report could be published.
Babylon has now questioned the ability of CQC to effectively regulate digital health services.
“As a leader in digital healthcare, we feel we have a duty to point out the shortcomings of the regulator in this area and take the necessary steps to address that, in a hope to promote change, which is essential to ensuring that the UK promotes innovation,” said Dr Mobasher Butt, medical director at Babylon said in a company statement.
“Although CQC recognise the many positive aspects of our service, CQC have nevertheless made some key errors, both of findings and judgements, in our inspection report.
“It is disappointing that, despite trying to work openly with CQC to correct these errors, they have nevertheless published the report with these inaccuracies.”
The CQC’s role is to act as independent regulator of health and social care service in England, ensuring they meet standards of quality and safety.
Butt also said Babylon would welcome the idea of working alongside the CQC to help set guidelines for online consultation services.
The company was inspected by the CQC in July but said it subsequenetly challenged the publication of the report to defend it’s reputation.
The CQC report raised a number of concerns regarding the potential for prescriptions being misused and information not always being shared with the patient’s primary GP.
However, the report did include comments from users who said ‘GPs were polite, made them feel at ease and they were listened to by the GP’.
The regulator also stated that most services ‘were safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led’.
In a statement published on its website, Babylon said the CQC’s comments demonstrated a ‘failure’ to understand what Babylon does and a ‘lack of understanding around the rules governing the sharing of patient records’.
In response to claims made by Babylon, the CQC said it stood by its findings.
“We are pleased that we are now able to report on our findings in line with our statutory responsibility to provide information to the public about the quality of services,” a CQC spokesman said.
Babylon is not the only online consultation service to be criticised by the CQC.
In June, Push Doctor was found to be neither safe or effective.