When we talk to patients and their carers about empowering them to take control of their healthcare, by tracking their conditions, symptoms and treatment behaviours, inevitably, the first concern that always comes up relates to privacy and security.
Similarly, when we talk to healthcare providers and administrators about the opportunity to assess longitudinal health outcomes, at scale, in the pursuit of discovering which treatments work for each individual, they ask questions about clinical risk and interoperability (compatibility) with their existing record systems and workflows.
These questions are fair, and expected, given the pervasiveness of data-seeking tech companies, and the regularity of data breaches and privacy scares. Undertaking something innovative that bridges information flows across patients, clinicians and researchers takes trust at all levels.
In large healthcare organisations, the term clinical governance is used to describe how they oversee the risk associated with clinical operations. The rules are clear, after years of trial and error. Granted, iteration is part of the process, but even the framework for thinking about risk is well established.
For innovative digital health companies, the risk framework is still being developed and if anything, the need for trust across all stakeholders is even higher.
Having founders with lived experience as patients and carers, medical leadership with a commitment to clinical oversight and a research team with strong academic track records - we can whole heartedly say that our team collectively is well positioned to develop and implement a strong risk framework, and in doing so, build trust across patients, carers, providers and researchers.
At Human Health, clinical governance is not just a box we tick, nor is it something we take for granted. Rather it is a part of who we are, why we do what we do, and how we do it.
Foundational to all our activities, are 4 pillars that we have established to assess risk and build trust, while innovating and scaling a digital health company. Those 4 pillars are privacy, security, safety and interoperability:
- Privacy: Privacy at Human Health means that not only do all users have the right to know how their sensitive health information is being used and shared, but we make sure they understand their rights, without the use of fine print or medico-legal jargon. We take steps, in accordance with GDPR and HIPAA regulations, to ensure patients’ privacy and security is prioritised and respected at all times.
- Security: Security at Human Health means safeguarding our users’ data against unauthorised access or breaches. Our rigorous security protocols begin with tight security systems, staff training, open communication across our organisation and frequent reviews of our security measures, ensuring we’re ahead of any potential risks.
- Safety: Safety of our users means deeply understanding their healthcare journeys and their provider’s clinical workflows. Measuring time spent, impact on communication and accessibility are all a part of how Human Health aims to use evidence-based strategies to deliver safe, effective and personalised care augmentation.
- Interoperability: Interoperability at Human Health means recognising the complex ecosystem within which users receive or provide care. To ensure continuity of care, avoid gaps and duplications, and identify new opportunities to improve care, Human prioritises data formats and processes that enable the sharing of data with other systems seamlessly. Human strives for communicating clearly when other systems aren’t yet up to speed with the latest interoperability standards and processes.
Establishing a framework for clinical governance is not enough by itself to build trust, nor do we expect it to be. Trust in Human Health’s mission and our capabilities will come from the work we do, and that work is a function of how we at Human think about digital health, which in turn is influenced by our 4 pillars; Privacy, Security, Safety and Interoperability.
We encourage all digital health organisations, large and small, to consider this simple 4 pillar approach to clinical governance, when wondering where to start!