Imperial College London

NHS Digital Academy launches first cohort of digital health leaders

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NHS Chief Clinical Information Officers, Chief Information Officers, and senior operational, technical and clinical managers are amongst the NHS Digital Academy intake for 2018.

The NHS Digital Academy cohort 2018.

Year-long world class digital health training programme commissioned by the NHS set to advance informatics and transform the NHS.

The NHS Digital Academy formally enrolled the first cohort of participants last week onto their one year programme commissioned by the NHS in partnership with Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), the University of Edinburgh and Harvard Medical School.  

The Academy is a virtual organisation set up to develop a new generation of excellent digital leaders who can drive the information and technology transformation of the NHS. The aim is to create a workforce with the professionalism, capability and capacity to lead the NHS to a new digital future.

Applications to join the Academy, which was announced by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State of Health in September 2016, were welcomed from existing and aspiring digital leaders across health and social care including Chief Clinical Information Officers, Chief Information Officers, and senior operational, technical and clinical managers.

Digital innovation

The need for an NHS Digital Academy was identified in the independent report, “Making IT work: Harnessing the power of health information technology to improve care in England,” by Professor Bob Wachter, published in September 2016. 

The report said that creating a fully digitised NHS was vital to the NHS’s future but experience showed that “just installing computers” did not work. It called for a “major effort” to place well-qualified clinicians with advanced informatics training in every organisation. “It is not just about the technology, it is about the people too,” it said.

The Academy’s Co-Directors are Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, Director of IGHI, and Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute for Population Health and Informatics. Rachel Dunscombe, Director of Digital for Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, a partner in the initiative, is the Academy’s Chief Executive. 

We want to build a vibrant, self-sustaining community of inspired leaders who will drive NHS digital transformation. Professor Ara Darzi Director, Institute of Global Health Innovation

Academy Co-Director, Professor Ara Darzi, who also leads the NIHR centre for Patient Safety and Translational Research said: “The NHS has an unhappy record on digitisation but we believe it is now ready to embrace the technological changes that are urgently required. We want to build a vibrant, self-sustaining community of inspired leaders who will drive NHS digital transformation. We have an unrivalled record of using academic rigour to translate ground-breaking research into digital health solutions and we have assembled a world-class team to develop the Academy”. 

Prof AzizProfessor Aziz Sheikh, Co-Director of the Academy said “The NHS Digital Academy will train and support the next generation of clinical and IT leaders to ensure that they have the skills, expertise and access to the foremost experts in the world to safely and securely use IT to support continuous improvements in the ways in which the NHS works and the care it delivers”.

Rachel Dunscombe“I am delighted to be part of the Digital Academy” said Academy CEO Rachel Dunscombe “and feel privileged to be able to be at the helm of accelerating the digital health profession. This unique collaboration of partners will provide the system leadership needs highlighted by the Wachter review”.  

View the Storify of the launch event here.

Read Academy CEO Rachel Dunscombe blog article about her experience of the launch here.

Details of how to apply for 2019’s intake will be announced in due course. Find out more by visiting the Academy website.

Reporter

Jo Seed

Jo Seed
Institute of Global Health Innovation

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 1484
Email: j.seed@imperial.ac.uk

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