The health and life sciences team at Hill Dickinson, an international law firm, acted as advisers on the legal and regulatory aspects of successfully adapting the GoodSAM app for use by the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The app was predominantly designed to identify individuals suffering from cardiac arrest or other life-threatening emergency through geolocation, and alert nearby trained responders to provide assistance until an ambulance arrived. GoodSAM’s ability to geo-locate volunteers and deploy them to assist those in need led the NHS, together with the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), to ask if the app could be redeployed to task volunteers in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the UK alone, over 1.5 million vulnerable people remained in isolation once lockdown began, with many more in the highly-at-risk category.
Mark Wilson, GoodSAM’s founder, said: “The coronavirus crisis is unique to anything we’ve ever supported before. There is constant, dynamic change and everything needs to be highly adaptable in order to provide help for the next immediate need. Bringing modern world geo location apps used in other services to the voluntary sector is a huge step change and opens up the potential for effective support to be delivered exactly where it is needed on a scale we haven’t seen before. Hill Dickinson’s expertise in digital health was invaluable in enabling us to provide a workable solution at a time of urgent need.”
Jamie Foster responded, saying: ‘For some time now the NHS has been embracing digital technology to support a healthcare service for the 21st century, but the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly fast-tracked adoption of a range of truly innovative technology. In this case the speed at which GoodSAM adapted its proven digital platform for the volunteering programme was incredible. We were delighted to advise Mark and Ali on the contracting and data protection arrangements and are proud to have played a part in helping this come together at a time of unprecedented challenge for the NHS and local communities.’