UK-based digital health firm Forward Clinical Ltd has been rated ‘requires improvement’ by England’s health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The company provides services through its Juno app, which allows parents to access advice on maternity and children’s health issues from NHS paediatricians and midwives.
A CQC inspection, which took place over two days in July and August, rated the app ‘good’ for being caring and responsive to people’s needs. However, the CQC said the service required improvement to be safe, effective and well-led.
The report says that Juno’s current system data security measures restricted senior clinicians’ access to service users’ records limiting full clinical oversight. This prevented full and effective assessment, monitoring, review and clinical auditing.
It added that some information relating to clinical discussions, such as any exchange between the first responder and consultant, was recorded outside the service. The CQC could therefore not establish that all service users’ records were complete.
Also, the CQC flagged that some governance documentation had not been sufficiently reviewed and amended to be appropriate to the service and contained discrepancies and errors.
Following the report, Forward Clinical Ltd must send a report to the CQC outlining what actions it will take to meet the required standards.
WHY IT MATTERS
The app was found to be in breach of Regulation 17(1) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, which states that systems and processes must be established to ensure good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The Juno app also came under fire earlier this year when it was revealed that it had operated for two months without a CQC registration, after being launched as a paid service in March 2021. A Juno spokesperson said the registration process had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its sister app, Pando, which is also owned by Forward Clinical Ltd, faced controversy in July when a security breach saw NHS patients’ photos automatically uploaded onto users’ smartphones. The clinical communication tool, which has been approved under the NHS Clinical Communication Procurement Framework, is used to send messages, test results, X-Rays and photographs between care teams.
Meanwhile in the maternity space, German health tech startup Emiltonia is testing the protype of a digital hanging scale and app, which would create local-specific comparative data for the growth of babies around the world. The app, which is already on the market, also provides support for parents and information about age-appropriate development.
ON THE RECORD
A spokesperson for Juno told MobiHealthNews: “Our recent CQC inspection recognised our service as caring, responsive and kind, as well as being a service that’s highly regarded by users and clinicians. Specific points around further enhancements to our data processing, governance policy documentation and record keeping were acknowledged and have been acted on.”