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NHS England plans for digital excellence centres



Electronic patient records, information sharing and data security are key factors in pitches for shares of £100 million funding pot

NHS England has invited 26 healthcare trusts to pitch for shares of a funding pot worth more than £100 million in bids to become centres of digital excellence.

It said that between 10 and 16 would be selected and that individual bids could win up to £10 million each to invest in infrastructure and training.

The idea is that the centres will pave the way for better use of digital technology throughout the NHS. All of those invited to bid have already stepped up their use of digital in hospitals.

Once established they will be partnered with organisations overseas and should encourage local IT leaders to become the next generation of chief clinical information officers.

Three priorities

There are three main requirements, with trusts having to show they can: use electronic patient records comprehensively; share information across the health and care system; and meet the expected standards of data security.

Professor Keith McNeil (pictured), chief clinical information officer at NHS England, said: “It is evident the benefits of investing in and optimising use of digital technology to improve efficiency and enhance care is more widely understood but we are not yet realising these benefits at scale or sufficiently quickly.

“We need to move faster in getting clinicians real time access to accurate information and joining up healthcare systems to improve outcomes for patients and reduce workload for doctors, nurses and other NHS staff. Our aim here is to create a national movement in which the centres of global digital excellence will be core.”

The winning bids will be announced at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in September, where the results of the NHS review into its use of digital technology will also be unveiled.

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