NHS Digital is running a series of trials to explore how cutting-edge wireless technologies can support the delivery of better health and care.

The Wireless Centre of Excellence trials are open for applications and allow NHS organisations to apply for funding for wireless and innovative technology that helps improve connectivity in health and care settings.

Patrick Clark, NHS Digital’s Director of Infrastructure Services, said: “Wireless technologies will continue to play an increasingly important role as the NHS looks to implement new models of care that allow patients to receive treatment at home or in mobile health settings.

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“They will also help provide clinicians with access to data and digital systems wherever they need it. We are already seeing many of the benefits of cutting-edge wireless technology and innovation – from enabling real-time remote diagnosis in a mobile health unit to supporting live observations in the first 5G hospital in the UK.”

Previous NHS Digital wireless trials include 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 Find and Treat service provides screening, testing and treatment for vulnerable, homeless and high-risk people in London.

Another wireless trial, funded by NHS Digital, has led to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust becoming the first 5G-connected hospital in the UK.

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

Patrick continues: “These projects are a step-forward in digital transformation and will bring an array of benefits, particularly for those least able to access healthcare and for digitally isolated hospitals and health centres.

“We look forward to working with successful trialists this year to further realise the benefits of wireless technologies and high-speed connectivity in improving healthcare.”

Organisations that are either considering, or are in the process of implementing creative wireless solutions are encouraged to apply.

The current trials scheme is a one-year programme, although applications for longer trials will be considered.

Applicants 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. Applications for the trials close Friday 29th July.

In a recent article for THIIS, Graham Ewart, CEO of Direct Healthcare Group (DHG), stated that digitalisation in the NHS can only serve to increase capacity, speed of service and ultimately provide better healthcare outcomes for all.

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