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Partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital for new technology innovation centre announced

A new technology innovation centre will open later today at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with backing from us and several technology companies, to transform the use of technology including artificial intelligence in healthcare and improve patient outcomes.
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A new technology innovation centre will open later today at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with backing from us and several technology companies, to transform the use of technology including artificial intelligence in healthcare and improve patient outcomes.

The state-of-the-art unit, called DRIVE – Digital, Research, Informatics and Virtual Environments  – is the first of its kind in the world. It is both a physical and conceptual unit and is the result of a unique partnership between us, Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London and leading industry experts in technology, artificial intelligence and digital innovation.

The DRIVE unit will be a ‘hot-house’ for exploration activity, a rich environment for our technologists to work alongside industry and academic colleagues, and the launchpad for concepts which can be ‘scaled-up’ within our delivery programs or within regional and local technology programmes across the system.

Sarah Wilkinson, our chief executive, will sit on the DRIVE strategy steering group, while our chief commercial officer Michael Kay will sit on the DRIVE operational board. Other partners include Microsoft, Samsung, Arm and Barclays.

The program’s interests in more rigorously exploring the third party market of commodity products and services for use in health and care is very much aligned with those of our organisation.

We see the potential for deployment of cross-sector commodity technology across many different areas of our work. Our first three areas of focus will be:

  • The use of commodity integrated-communication technologies to drive collaboration across the system, including video and secure messaging channels as well as traditional email, and integration of these functions with NLP technologies to enable voice-to-text automation, and automated coding of terminology from voice streams
  • Exploring how best to gain from the explosion in ML, NLP and other AI technologies to enable better leverage of the hugely-rich data within the health and care system to derive new insights about effective and efficient approaches to clinical service provision and to management of the NHS system.
  • Exploring the use of commodity cloud data management and hosting services from hyper-cloud providers to deliver national platforms to facilitate alignment to NHS data standards, particularly FIHR messaging and SNOMED CT to ICD-11 mapping

We expect multiple other areas of mutual interest to arise as the DRIVE unit becomes an increasing portal for commodity technology providers to demonstrate the applicability of their systems for use across health and care, and we are excited about the partnership of Microsoft and Samsung from the outset.

Projects which have already come through DRIVE and are being used within Great Ormond Street Hospital already to help with patient outcomes and experience include Project Fizzyo, which is helping researchers look at how physical activity and airway clearance relates to changes in the health of children with cystic fibrosis using chipped sensors inside airway clearance devices.

Through DRIVE, the whole of Great Ormond Street Hospital has been recreated in a Minecraft world where patients are able to virtually explore before they visit the hospital and virtually meet and befriend other patients who are at the hospital to help improve their patient experience.

Chief executive Sarah Wilkinson said:

“We are incredibly excited about the potential for this new partnership with the DRIVE team at GOSH. Bringing clinicians, academics, world-leading technology companies and our own technicians together into a single physical environment will allow collaboration and innovation at pace.

“The NHS needs a dramatic acceleration in digitisation in order to be able to deliver to its full potential. There is much opportunity in leveraging proven commodity technologies, with little customisation, to address key digitisation challenges and I am certain that when we bring those who understand the need together with those who have already designed and delivered applicable technologies, we will be able to create new fast lanes in our digital programs.”

Dr Shankar Sridharan, Clinical Director of DRIVE, said:

“The aim is to use technology and data to provide – safer, better (data driven) and kinder care that is clinician focussed and patient centred. DRIVE is the how and provides the capability to develop scalable solutions to improve healthcare. GOSH patients are digital natives which means they and their families are early adopters of technologies. They will naturally embrace the new devices and apps the unit develops. These young people are our future in so many ways - and of course the future patients of the NHS for the next 50 years.”

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Sarah Wilkinson
Sarah Wilkinson became NHS Digital’s chief executive in August 2017. She previously worked as Chief Information Officer at the Home Office with responsibility for the delivery of all technology services for counter terrorism, the UK border, visas and immigration, and asylum and policing.

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Last edited: 17 September 2020 10:23 am