Trusts bidding for a share of NHS England’s latest £240m tranche of its technology fund will come under increased pressure to prove proposals deliver significant economic benefits.
This emphasis on outcomes follows the loss of a £60m chunk of the £260m originally earmarked for its first funding round, which HSJ revealed last week had been clawed back by the Treasury.
NHS England sees the creation of a strong evidence base as critical to the future of the fund.
The health agency’s director of strategic systems and technology Beverley Bryant stressed the need to show delivery on outcomes as she unveiled a prospectus for the second funding round last week.
“Historically, [health IT projects] have been criticised by the public accounts committee for not having enough emphasis on benefits so that is the lens through which we are defining everything that we are doing,” she added.
Paul Rice head of technology strategy at NHS England said it expected to be able to set out “in concrete terms” what first round bidders had achieved in the autumn.
Under Treasury rules, bidders will be expected to generate a £2.40 return for every £1 of funding they receive.
The second round has been rebranded the integrated digital care fund and will for the first time accept applications from local authorities and community health trusts to encourage projects which aim to integrate patient records across different providers.
Bids must be submitted by 14 July 2014. Some £160m will be available in 2014-15 and a further £80m in 2015-16.
HSJ understands that efforts to distribute the first round funding were hampered by its tight application timetable and the tough value for money test that project applications must pass. NHS England had hoped to roll the funding over into the second tranche of funding.