NHS England launches tech trials to boost health and care connectivity

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 13-Sep-2023

Trusts invited to take part in wireless technology trials that maximise the efficiency of services

NHS organisations are being invited to take part in wireless trials to explore how cutting-edge technologies can help improve patient care.

NHS England is supporting the trials to ensure health and care organisations make the most out of current and emerging wireless technology to deliver digital healthcare services.

Funding applications for proposals that aim to improve connectivity in the health and care setting, or maximise efficiency of existing digital infrastructure, are open via the Connectivity Hub.

Previous wireless trials include the development of University College London Hospitals’ Find and Treat service, which uses high-tech tools and software to provide real-time remote diagnosis and referrals on board a mobile health unit.

The service provides remote screening, testing, and treatment for vulnerable, homeless, and high-risk people in London.

Another trial led to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust becoming the first 5G-connected hospital in the UK.

The trial gave clinicians access to digital innovations such as the eObs app (eObservations), which enables the use of handheld devices to update patient records digitally and make live observations.

This new Wireless Trials programme will provide NHS organisations with the capability needed to deliver the challenging digital ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Powered by innovation

Successful trial applicants will benefit from funding for their project, advice, and guidance from NHS England, and the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded organisations on Wi-Fi improvement projects powered by innovation.

NHS England will also capture best practice from successful trialists and share this across the wider NHS to enable scaled learning.

Stephen Koch, executive director of platforms at NHS England, said: “Wireless technology has an increasingly-important role to play in delivering effective and efficient digital health services to provide the best care for patients.

“The wireless trials are designed to help the NHS understand how existing and emerging Wi-Fi solutions can support the delivery of better health and social care across the wider NHS.

A step forward for digital transformation

“We look forward to working with successful trialists to explore opportunities for wireless technologies and high-speed connectivity that take another step forward in digital transformation and in improving patient care.”

The wireless trials applications will be reviewed throughout the year on a rolling basis.

Applicants will need to provide an overview of their wireless project and objectives, the anticipated outcome and impact for delivery of health or social care, as well as the healthcare need or technological challenge they are seeking to overcome.

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