In May 2013, the Secretary of State for Health and Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England, launched the £260 million Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund. In September, this was followed by the announcement of an additional £250m to be added to the fund – increasing its total value to over £500m. To reflect the key priority of enabling information flow across care settings, the fund has now been renamed the Integrated Digital Care Fund.
NHS England is responsible for the delivery, administration and governance of the fund to facilitate the widespread adoption of modern, safe standards of electronic record-keeping. Digital systems have the potential to benefit patients and clinicians by enabling safer, more joined up care through the sharing of comprehensive clinical information. This can lead to reduced prescription errors, improve clinical decision-making and support patients to interact with their own health record.
In its first round, the Integrated Digital Care Fund was open to NHS Trusts to support the rapid progression from paper-based clinical record-keeping to integrated digital care records (IDCRs). The initial wave approved over 200 projects from digital clinical records to electronic prescribing and medicines management, with a financial commitment of over £200m in FY 2013/14 and 2014/15. The list of organisations that have been awarded money and returned a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). We will update the list as the remaining MOUs are received.
Round two of the fund closed on 14 July 2014. In this round, awards from the fund will continue to support the move to integrated digital records with the emphasis on supporting information flows across organisational boundaries. Consequently, the eligibility criteria was widened to include local authorities.
A small number of projects awarded funding in round one are specifically concerned with moving information effectively between organisations along care pathways. Three of these projects have been selected as rapid accelerators – sites testing the concept of information flow between health and social care providers, known as interoperability.
Further information about the Integrated Digital Care Fund is included in The Integrated Digital Care Fund: Achieving Integrated Health and Care Records published in May 2014. This new publication builds on and updates Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards: Achieving an integrated digital care record initially published in July 2013.
The online application process for round two of the fund is now closed.
Clinicians alongside IT, procurement and management leads in NHS Trusts and suppliers to the market are invited to join the Technology Community of Practice which has been established to support the sharing of innovation, insight and peer support.