Connected Health Cities Programme: Evaluation
The Connected Health Cities (CHC) programme is a Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) led programme delivered by a consortium of academia, NHS organisations and industry partners across four regions in the North of England. Each of the four regions has been tasked with establishing a Learning Healthcare System (LHS), using patient data to create and test innovative improvements for a variety of clinical pathways.
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CHC programme, including how the CHC programme has progressed towards the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) seven deliverables, as well as emerging benefits, additionality, and key challenges. Recommendations are provided for future programmes of work. This draws upon 59 interviews with staff and key stakeholders, a staff survey and documentary review across all four CHC regions and the central CHC hub.
The DHSC is to be commended in funding a high risk and innovative digital programme of work across the North of England; a programme of work which is beginning to tackle health inequalities that disproportionally affects this population. The multidisciplinary approach has brought together highly skilled and knowledgeable staff across academia, the NHS and industry, resulting greater staff exposure to research, addressing real issues in clinical practice and breaking down silo-based working practices.
Regional activities and care pathways are beginning to address health inequalities across the health and care system in the North of England to reduce unjustified variations in health outcomes. The investment made by DHSC has contributed to the building of I.T and health informatics infrastructure in NHS organisations across the North of England, allowing the flow of data to identify key health issues within local populations. Each region has developed its own infrastructure for clinical research and medical innovation through the creation of Arks and employment of skilled staff.
Furthermore, the CHC programme has created regional partnerships across the North of England between NHS Trusts, academia and industry with governance structures and commercialisation protocols in place that protect patient data confidentiality that could be utilised by the DHSC in driving innovation and digital change with NHS suppliers both nationally and internationally.