Global digital exemplars - a blueprint for success?

patient care, NHS

Once again the UK is embarking on a project to get hospitals to fully embrace digital technology and transform ways of working. Twelve NHS hospital trusts were initially chosen as outstanding examples of digitisation to receive £10m (€11.7m approx.) funding (January 2017) to help them progress further to becoming what the Department for Health calls Global Digital Exemplars (GDE) – the sites which will ultimately lead healthcare in their area.

The plan for the GDEs is for them to take their digital expertise into neighbouring less digitally advanced hospital trusts to bring them up to standard by 2023. In mid-January, seven mental health trusts (who are generally more digitised than the acute trusts) were added to the programme.

Following the closure of the National Programme for IT, large scale IT projects were regarded as too hot to handle following the relentless negative media coverage — although a number of the projects were successful and are serving the NHS well, such as the NHS Spine. Government funding on IT became rather targeted and focused on funding for single projects based on competitive applications. These included the Nursing Technology Fund announced in October 2012 that provided £30m (€35.9m approx.) for 85 projects in the first round and £35m (€40.9m approx.) for 64 projects in the second round.


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