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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. All references to NHS Digital now, or in the future, relate to NHS England. More about the merger.

COVID Oximetry @home clinical safety

The following information is intended to assist health and care organisations who will be deploying the COVID Oximetry @home service. Deploying organisations are legally obliged to follow the Clinical Risk Management standard DCB0160.

Oximetry notice

In July 2022, NHS Digital started a managed closure of the COVID Oximetry @home data services it provides to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). This was to align with the end of the COVID-19 COPI notices and to reduce data collection burden. The closure is now complete.

A national supply of pulse oximeters remains available by request to support COVID Oximetry @home services. 

To assist deploying organisations with their DCB0160 clinical risk management activities we have provided: 

  1. The most recent DCB0129 Clinical Safety Case Report and its associated Hazard Log. This is because there will be some hazards identified during the development of COVID Oximetry @home by NHS Digital, where control measures to reduce the level of clinical risk associated will fall on the deploying organisation. Read more about DCB0129.
  2. A template DCB0160 Clinical Safety Case Report for use by organisations deploying COVID Oximetry @home. The template is intended to assist deploying organisations complete their clinical risk management requirements and contains information applicable to COVID Oximetry @home and additional guidance. Use of this template is not mandatory.

Description of the mandatory DCB0160 standard

The DCB0160 is aimed at health and social care organisations that are procuring, implementing, deploying or decommissioning health IT systems.

DCB0160 is mandatory in England. Its purpose is to ensure effective Clinical Risk Management is carried out by deploying organisations, to help establish best practice and enable organisations to plan and follow a systematic and consistent approach to Clinical Risk Management. It is also to ensure that the extent of Clinical Risk Management is proportionate to the scale, complexity and level of clinical risk associated with the Health IT system.

Also shown is information regarding the responsibilities which fall on deploying organisations regarding the control measures required to reduce the level of clinical risk associated with the deployment of COVID Oximetry @home.

The DCB0160 standard consists of two documents: 

  1. Specification - which describes what must be done to comply with the standard.
  2. Implementation Guidance - which provides guidance to support the interpretation of the requirements.

Find further information relating to DCB0160

The Specification and Implementation Guidance for DCB0160 can be found in the ‘Current Release’ section.

The standard uses the terms MUST or SHOULD. MUST demonstrates an absolute requirement of the standard and SHOULD demonstrates a requirement which, if applicable, is recommended but is not mandatory.

Examples of some of the DCB0160 requirements which MUST be met by a deploying organisation when considering the deployment of a system such as COVID Oximetry @home are:

  • identifying and documenting known and foreseeable hazards to patients (Section 4)
  • estimating the initial level of clinical risk for each hazard (Section 4)
  • evaluating whether the initial clinical risk is acceptable (Section 5)
  • identifying appropriate clinical risk control measures to remove an unacceptable clinical risk. (Section 6)
  • implementing the clinical risk control measures. (Section 6)

This is not a complete list of requirements and is included for illustration purposes.

Deploying organisation’s responsibilities

Organisations responsible for manufacturing, developing and modifying health and social care IT Systems which have a direct impact on patient care must follow DCB0129. This is also a mandatory standard which has been followed during the development and manufacture of COVID Oximetry @home by NHS Digital.

Some hazards were identified during the development of COVID Oximetry @home where the responsibility for implementing the control measures to reduce the level of clinical risk associated with the deployment will fall on the deploying organisation. Therefore, it will be necessary for the deploying organisation to consider the hazards identified during the development of COVID Oximetry @home and their control measures when carrying out their own risk analysis.

These hazards and control measures are recorded in the DCB0129 Clinical Safety Case Report titled ‘Clinical Safety Case Report for COVID Oximetry @home’ and the associated Hazard Log. The latest versions of these documents can be found on the NHS Digital COVID Oximetry @home web page.

DCB0160 Support Tool

To help deploying organisations ensure they are compliant with the mandatory DCB0160 standard, a useful support tool titled ‘Compliance Assessment Template’ can be found in the ‘Previous Release’ section of the DCB0160 webpage. This is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet and has been developed to help manufacturers and health and care organisations measure compliance with the standard.

The tool lists the requirements of the standard and has an option to record the level of compliance. The level of compliance is recorded in the Summary tab of the spreadsheet. The tool can also help organisations to check compliance of their clinical risk management processes before undertaking a project.

Last edited: 6 January 2022 5:32 pm