The National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health (NSQDMH) Standards were developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in partnership with service users, consumers, carers, families, clinicians, service providers and technical experts. Released on 30 November 2020, the NSQDMH Standards aim to improve the quality of digital mental health service provision, and to protect service users and their support people from harm.
The NSQDMH Standards aim to improve the quality of digital mental health service provision, and to protect service users and their support people from harm. There are three NSQDMH standards, including 59 actions related to clinical and technical aspects of digital mental health services. They describe the level of care and the safeguards that a digital mental health service should provide.
The three NSQDMH Standards are: Clinical and Technical Governance Standard; Partnering with Consumers Standard; and Model of Care Standard. Each standard contains a description of the standard, statement of intent, list of criteria that describe the key areas covered by the standard, explanatory notes on the context of the standard, item headings for groups of actions in each criterion and actions that describe what is required to meet the standard.
The Clinical and Technical Governance Standard describes the clinical and technical governance, safety and quality systems and the safe environment that is required to maintain and improve the reliability, safety and quality of digital mental health care, and improve health outcome for service users.
The Partnering with Consumers Standard describes the systems and strategies to create a person-centred digital mental health system in which service users and where relevant, their support people are; included in shared decision-making, partners in their own care, and involved in the development and design of quality mental health care.
The Model of Care Standard described the processes for developing and delivering digital mental health services, minimising harm to service users, their support people and others, communicating for safety and recognising and responding to acute deterioration in mental state.
The Commission has developed an accreditation model for digital mental health services which will operate under the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme. The model is based on findings from pilot assessments of services conducted in March-May 2021, and consultation with stakeholders. Under the model, digital mental health service providers will be assessed by accrediting agencies approved through the AHSSQA Scheme.
Assessments under the scheme will commence in mid-2022. Further information and resources will be available soon.
Services can use the Commission’s self-assessment tool to monitor their progress towards meeting the NSQDMH Standards. Service providers must not declare that they meet the NSQDMH Standards until they have successfully completed an accreditation assessment. The application of actions and strategies by also differ depending on the size, risk to service users and their support people, and the complexity of the service.
How should the NSQDMH Standards be applied?
The NSQDMH Standards are voluntary and should be applied at the level of the service provider that created the digital mental health services and made it available to service users and their support people. Not all actions within each standard will be applicable to every service, and service providers may see the application of the NSQDMH differ across the services they provide.
The Commission intends to develop further guidance for service providers and service users to support the implementation of the NSQDMH Standards.
Contact the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the NSQDMH Standards and accreditation.
For further information on the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health Standards and to download the Standards visit: https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/standards/national-safety-and-quality-digital-mental-health-standards
Tip sheets for consumers and clinicians