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In conversation with… Rachel Gornall, Clinical Operations Manager
Blog //03-04-2024

In conversation with… Rachel Gornall, Clinical Operations Manager

by OneAdvanced PR, Author

The Health and Care sector relies on high-quality technology to help them keep patients safe and support clinicians providing vital care. The software we provide must be safe and reliable, a responsibility that Rachel Gornall takes seriously. Rachel’s professional journey started with a role in the care sector. Working amongst care professionals, and supporting their work, she came to understand what is most important to the sector. In care homes, people come first – patient care is of vital importance and can’t be compromised. It’s this experience and understanding that Rachel has carried with her throughout her career – and now leverages at Advanced.

So, Rachel, what are your key responsibilities?

My responsibilities in the team are to make sure that we are compliant with the standards that we need to be compliant with in health and care. That's quite a wide sweeping statement because it reaches out into so many different areas in the business.

I work closely with our Caldicott Guardian. The Caldicott Guardian is a person who protects the data of patients. It's a required role in Advanced. If I do spot something that perhaps needs the eye of our Caldicott Guardian, I'll be on the call letting them know that there's something that needs to be addressed.

At the end of the day, our customers come first. The patients, they certainly come first. They could be your mother, my sister, people we know, those that we care about, that are having their health managed with the software that we release. The relationships that we have with our customers allow us to make sure that our software is used to its best to keep those people safe.

How do you ensure safety in our health and care software?

We have to be incredibly careful every step of the way through developing the health and care software. And as a member of the clinical team, that's primarily what we do. Right at the beginning, we're there. We're watching stories as they're written. We're there adding to user criteria and looking out for hazards.

And we have to evidence that we're doing that. That evidence is called a ‘safety case’. You can imagine it a little bit like a lawyer's briefcase. The clinical team carry that lawyer's briefcase for every software that we release in health and care.

That safety case must be examined by a registered person, a clinical safety officer. They will go through that body of evidence, and, at the end, they give a recommendation to upper management. Is this software safe enough to use for its intended purpose? That recommendation goes up and is used in the decision as to whether that release of software then goes out for customer use.

The publication of Advanced's Health and Care DCM0129 standard on the NHS England website was a significant milestone – how did this come about?

Well, I can say that NHS England published our workflow for meeting the DCM0129 standard. To cut through the jargon, that standard is a required standard for manufacturers of software that deploy into health and care environments to ensure that it’s safe and fit for purpose.

It's a really important standard. It helps us to make sure our software is safe when it's being deployed, however we intend for it to be used. But actually, there were some huge challenges of late in that. Software has changed over the years. The way we make it has changed. We're now very much more cloud focused. We are faster in the way that we develop and release. And that DCB0129 standard was designed around the older ways of making software where we'd maybe take three or four months in our timeframe before we'd get software out through the door. That used to give us plenty of time to evidence safety. But now we have to move fast, and it brought in real challenges.

NHS England, the NHS Digital Team, as was then, were really struggling with that concept. How do they make it more agile to work with the new software of today? When we came to making our CareCloud product, we knew we were going to face this challenge. And I was set with a task: how can we develop that software safely and meet the DCB0129 standard?

I promised NHS England that if we managed to resolve that question that we would share that with them. Of course, we did. We weren't going to fall down on that. The way that we develop our software now, according to that standard, has been published by the NHS England Team. That document sets out best practice for all software manufacturers using that standard to develop health and care software. It's a really proud moment.

We’d like to thank Rachel for sharing her insights with us, and for the amazing work she does every day to ensure patient safety. Learn more about how we support our customers to benefit from the most up-to-date and tailored software solutions, in conversation with Tashan Everett.

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