The ten principles of the NHS’ code of conduct for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other data-driven technologies has been published.

Then health minister, Lord O’Shaughnessy, announced in September 2018 that the code of conduct had been published but was in the initial consultation stage.

On 19 February, the Department of Health and Social Care announced an updated version has been released which included ten principles which technology companies are expected to meet and follow.

These principles include understanding user need, being fair and transparent and ensuring the technology is secure. (The full list of principles can be seen below)

Dr Simon Eccles, CCIO for health and care, said: “Parts of the NHS have already shown the potential impact AI could have in the future of the NHS in reading scans, for example, to enable clinicians to focus on the most difficult cases.

“This new code sets the bar companies will need to meet to bring their products into the NHS so we can ensure patients can benefit from not just the best new technology, but also the safest and most secure.”

The Department of Health and Social Care also confirmed the code will be regularly updated in partnership with industry and stakeholders to ensure it keeps pace with the market.

The ten principles are:

  1. Understand users, their needs and the context
  2. Define the outcome and how the technology will contribute to it
  3. Use data that is in line with appropriate guidelines for the purpose for which it is being used
  4. Be fair, transparent and accountable about what data is being used
  5. Make use of open standards
  6. Be transparent about the limitations of the data used and algorithms deployed
  7. Show what type of algorithm is being developed or deployed, the ethical examination of how the data is used, how its performance will be validated and how it will be integrated into health and care provision
  8. Generate evidence of effectiveness for the intended use and value for money
  9. Make security integral to the design
  10. Define the commercial strategy