A trial on 13 August and a full launch on 24 September. The COVID-19 Contract Tracing app is a fact across England and Wales. The launch of the app has been a long project and has benefitted from many experts bringing their knowledge to the table.
One of the key topics for the app was Patient Safety. Mo Rahman, CEO of Promatica Digital, is recognised nationally as an expert in Patient Safety and was asked to offer his consultancy support for the COVID-19 App.
What was your role as an advisor for the new COVID-19 app?
It was looking at the application, the app itself. My role was to offer advice to ensure that the risk of anybody using the application was minimised. In addition, I gave consultancy about the app’s functions, or simply said that it did what it stated to do, as well as ensuring that the accessibility for people to the app was in line with legislation.
On the end of functionality, I’ve advised on ensuring the app was sound and didn’t confuse members of the public. Part of that was looking at an acceptable pathway where people would use its functions in the right kind of way.
Furthermore, it was important to give assurance that the information provided was used in the right way. The UK public needed to be given a level of assurance that the information provided was needed, and that no information was requested that wasn’t required. Then those pieces of information needed to be safely stored and the public needed to be informed that it was indeed safely stored, so no issues would arise around privacy or clinical risk.
What made you decide to get involved in the COVID-19 app?
With the pandemic disrupting life in such a fundamental way, this was a good opportunity for me to get involved and try and offer my help that would hopefully make a change. There was that bit of patriotism to make a difference by providing my knowledge and insight that I’ve been able to gather from my clinical and technical experience on Patient Safety over the years.
What were the key challenges you faced for advising in Patient Safety?
For a project as such there simply is a huge number of people involved. Whilst we were ensuring one particular process – the app process – we had to be mindful this was an aggregation of lots of different types of processes.
What key advice have you been able to give?
One of the key things is the ability to have a pragmatic approach. Like all things, it’s hard to reach an optimal goal where you reach 100% of what you set out to do, even though we all of course wish for that. The truth is that in the end you’ll never eliminate all risk within risk management. So, you should have a pragmatic approach that considers risk versus benefit.
Have you seen concrete changes happening following your advice?
It’s difficult to see how my specific advice has brought about concrete change. After all the team is very vast; you’re looking at a team of 200 to 300 people. And that was just it too, it wasn’t so much about the single players, it was very much about this team effort and offering a solution as part of a larger team.
What in general do you believe to be of vital importance for Patient Safety as we steer into an increasingly digital future?
As our delivery in digital technology gets more complex, we must bear in mind and continuously assure that Patient Safety is at the heart of the appropriate digital software. The software after all has an impact on patients’ public health and we need to be able to associate things and keep Patient Safety in mind.
The clinical and Patient Safety risk is pertinent to digital software applications which focuses on the public and the patients. We have to continuously improve our knowledge and give that assurance. But at the same time, we have to be pragmatic to get solutions out the door. You can’t eliminate risk, but you can reduce risk greatly.
And then with the implementation of new technology, we need to again think and rethink. Automated tasks are taken away, but with the installation of technologies brand-new risks are introduced, which we need to adapt to and monitor as best we can.
Do you need help with Patient Safety yourself? Mo Rahman is a respected national expert in Patient Safety in the UK. Get in touch with Mo by contacting us via this form!