Cash for ideas in NHS IT
NHS organisations are being offered prize money to come up with digital services and information sharing ideas that improve patient care across the health service.
Up to £99,000 will be on offer for NHS bodies that come up with innovative solutions and new ways to use and share information between staff, clinicians and patients.
"We want to support doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to be innovative in the NHS," said health minister Lord Howe. "We have created this fund to encourage NHS organisations to come up with new digital ideas that not only improve services for patients but help create an environment where local IT information can be more easily shared across the NHS."
Ailsa Claire, transition director for patients and intelligence at the NHS Commissioning Board Authority said there was a need for a "connect all" approach to NHS IT. With that in mind, ideas that qualify for the Information Sharing Challenge Fund must be interoperable so they can be used by other parts of the NHS. "There are many opportunities for effective information sharing between NHS organisations, social services and the third sector," she said.
Paul Cooper, Health & Social Care Council member at IT association Intellect, said: "It is often the case that many innovative ideas come from Trusts working closely with their suppliers. This initiative will not only enable Trusts across the NHS to come forward with great ideas about harnessing digital technology but provide some funds to help turn them into a reality. These ideas can then be shared with other parts of the NHS encouraging collaboration and best practice."
"There needs to be greater education and awareness of the benefits of interoperability by Trusts and other health and social care providers, and this campaign is a good start. But there is more that DH, the NHS Commissioning Board and industry need to do to join up local IT systems and ensure that there is effective information sharing across the NHS as a whole. The "challenge fund" with its limited 'prize money' is a start but may not be enough to tip the scale in favour of the NHS Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) becoming the default model for the NHS and industry. We hope that this is just the beginning of a campaign to advance interoperability and effective sharing of information across the NHS."