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Looking around the digital health space I see a few new start-ups and even mature companies sticking their head in the sand in order to ignore expensive and time consuming clinical governance.
Some companies take the view that because they don’t employ doctors to directly consult with patients they’re immunised against the need to be accountable for their content and tools.
Your.MD could have taken that view. It sets out to provide accessible and high quality decision support for citizens across the globe in how and when to access healthcare. No doctors, no diagnosis. “Our hands are clean,” could have been the company’s attitude.
But one of the things that enticed me to Chair the Your.MD clinical advisory board was that founder Matteo Berlucchi saw clinical quality and safety as a core company principle. In many ways this approach is born out of the values that make up the foundation of Your.MD. The first being: “Patients come first.”
Clinical governance is a systematic approach to maintaining and improving the quality and safety of care within a health system and that is exactly the approach we are adopting within Your.MD.
Your.MD’s approach mirrors the clinical governance framework you would expect to see in a traditional healthcare organisation. In our case, it has been recast in a digital context. There is therefore a strong emphasis on safety as a critical part of the development cycle.
We have adopted a formal clinical quality and safety management system in order to ensure it becomes everyone’s business in the company and an intrinsic part of how we operate. The clinical team in Your.MD is also now supported by a clinical advisory board that has been established to provide an oversight and assurance function for the organisation.
The opportunities to learn from other safety critical industries in the formal adoption of clinical risk management is key. There are well established international standards and processes designed to support the management and accreditation of clinical risk. Our belief is that good clinical quality and safety is also good business.
We are putting a lot of effort into ensuring the values that these activities are built upon are an intrinsic part of the culture of Your.MD.
We are taking the task of ensuring that the continuous improvement in quality and reliability is an essential part of what we do, given the obvious link with a better user experience and better outcomes for patients, carers and their families.
We know from international evidence which approaches to quality improvement yield the most sustainable results and it is those approaches we are using in Your.MD. We are also not taking anything for granted: we endeavour to be evidence based and measuring how we are doing and learning from our mistakes are intrinsic to what we do. Changing how healthcare is delivered is enormously challenging but Your.MD is clear that this will disrupt how people make decisions about accessing healthcare.
Clinical governance will ensure that the disruption our technology will bring is done in a responsible way.
Dr Mark Davies,
Chair of Your.MD’s Clinical Advisory Board