The Department of Health has launched an Information Sharing Challenge Fund to support information sharing projects that can be replicated across the NHS through the interoperability toolkit.
In a ‘dear colleagues’ letter sent out this morning, Ailsa Claire, transition director of the patients and information directorate at the NHS Commissioning Board, says the scheme is “designed to improve patient care by stimulating the creation of new and innovative digital services.”
She adds that these ideas must be “underpinned by robust and effective information sharing based on approaches that are re-usable across the NHS.”
A prospectus for the award explains this means that specifications will be expected to form part of the ITK, which is a portfolio of standards, frameworks and supplier accreditations to connect systems to achieve specific business benefits.
In a statement to support the launch, health minister Lord Howe said: “We want to support doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to be innovative in the NHS.
“That is why 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 to create an environment in which local IT information can be more easily shared across the NHS. I look forward to seeing the ideas that come forward.”
The launch statement suggests the fund will make awards of up to £99,000, but the prospectus suggests most will be much smaller.
It says “the expectation is that there will be relatively few awards over £75,000, and that the majority of the awards will be below £50,000.”
Awards will be made for projects that create a new information sharing standard and see it adopted by ITK, for the accreditation of a supplier’s project t the standard, and for its deployment or use to realise a business benefit for the NHS.
Awards could also be made for accrediting a suppliers’ product to an existing ITK standard, and for the deployment of ITK accredited products to realise a business benefit for the NHS.
Decisions will be made by the Interoperability Investment Programme Board, which is looking for development, adoption and deployment ideas in the clinical correspondence, maternity forms, telehealth and personal health monitoring spaces.
The board is also looking for adoption and deployment ideas for dashboards and admission, transfer and discharge information, which are already covered by ITK.
Timescales are relatively tight. Bids must be in by 5 October, and projects must be complete by 31 March next year.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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