Driving digital health transformation in hospitals: a formative qualitative evaluation of the English Global Digital Exemplar programme

Marta Krasuska, Robin Williams, Aziz Sheikh, Bryony Franklin, Susan Hinder, Hung TheNguyen, Wendy Lane, Hajar Mozaffar, Kathy Mason, Sally Eason, Henry Potts, Kathrin Cresswell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: There is currently a strong drive internationally towards creating digitally advanced healthcare systems through coordinated efforts at a national level. The English Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme is a large-scale national health information technology change programme aiming to promote digitally-enabled transformation in secondary healthcare provider organisations by supporting relatively digitally mature provider organisations to become international centres of excellence.

AIM: To qualitatively evaluate the impact of the GDE programme in promoting digital transformation in provider organisations that took part in the programme.

METHODS: We conducted a series of in-depth case studies in 12 purposively selected provider organisations and a further 24 wider case studies of the remaining organisations participating in the GDE programme. Data collected included 628 interviews, non-participant observations of 190 meetings and workshops and analysis of 9 documents. We used thematic analysis aided by NVivo software and drew on sociotechnical theory to analyse the data.

RESULTS: We found the GDE programme accelerated digital transformation within participating provider organisations. This acceleration was triggered by: (1) dedicated funding and the associated requirement for matched internal funding, which in turn helped to prioritise digital transformation locally; (2) governance requirements put in place by the programme that helped strengthen existing local governance and project management structures and supported the emergence of a cadre of clinical health informatics leaders locally; and (3) reputational benefits associated with being recognised as a centre of digital excellence, which facilitated organisational buy-in for digital transformation and increased negotiating power with vendors.

CONCLUSION: The GDE programme has been successful in accelerating digital transformation in participating provider organisations. Large-scale digital transformation programmes in healthcare can stimulate local progress through protected funding, putting in place governance structures and leveraging reputational benefits for participating provider organisations, around a coherent vision of transformation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Health & Care Informatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Facilities
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs


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