Intended for healthcare professionals


The NHS digital clinical safety strategy

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 03 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2981
  1. Ana Luisa Neves, associate director
  1. NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. ana.luisa.neves14{at}

Towards a safer and better version of digitally enabled care

Ensuring patient safety is essential to providing high quality healthcare.1 Despite important advances in this area, patients still experience injuries or die because of poor patient safety every year—and up to 83% of harm is estimated to be avoidable.2

Safe patient care depends on successful navigation of a complex web of human, technical, and system factors.2 Healthcare professionals must adapt to constantly evolving healthcare systems, including use of new tools and technologies such as potentially disruptive digital solutions. The new digital clinical safety strategy—a joint initiative between NHSX, NHS Digital, NHS England, and NHS Improvement—approaches this from two complementary angles3: the need to ensure digital technologies are safe and to use them as a tool to solve contemporary safety challenges.

Some digital technologies are already relatively commonplace, including “wearables” such as heart rate sensors, exercise trackers, and oximeters.4 Health and fitness apps …

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