The National Patient Safety Research Programme has issued a call for a systematic review of internationally available research on the impact of information technology on the quality and safety of health services.

In collaboration with NHS Connecting for Health (CfH), the NPSA’s Patient Safety Research Programme is calling for an analysis of the evidence for benefits of health IT, together with management literature on how to deliver these benefits pulled into one report representing the "state of the art".

The NPSA says that it is looking for proposals to assemble a series of systematic reviews on IT in the health services and to "weave these into a comprehensive and authoritative report with reference to safety and quality of care". The ambitious report is due to be completed within twelve months with an interim report published at six months.

Professor Richard Lilford, Programme Director of the Patient Safety Research Programme (PSRP), told E-Health Insider that the research has been commissioned by the DH on behalf of NPSA and the benefits realisation arm of NHS CfH led by Alan Burns.

"The research calls for a review of potentially everything a clinician or a manager might wish to know about ICT in healthcare and how they can ensure it delivers benefits," said Prof Lilford.

He said that the research will seek to understand why some healthcare organisations around the World have been extremely successful in implementing IT systems to support clinical care, while others have failed. "We want to get the best brains in the World and distill their knowledge into a dossier for Alan Burns, and all those involved in implementing what was the NHS National Programme for IT."

The NPSA says the review should cover the benefits and risks of different types of IT applications of different types, and should also "include the management literature relating to the introduction of IT systems and the role of IT in the management of change."

Professor Lilford said that a key aim of the document will be to provide a practical document that meets the pressing needs of clinicians and managers within the service: "Because it is academically sound it will of value to managers in the service… the researchers will need to consider how it will be used in an NHS context."

Asked about the six month interim report completion deadline, Prof Lilford said: "It is an exacting timetable for researchers but a lot of research has been done."

Last July a review of the evidence-base for e-health by the Institute of Public Policy Research found that there was a paucity of high quality UK research on the benefits of investment in e-health.

The application form and further project details can be downloaded from  The deadline for submitting applications is 12pm on Friday 1st July, 2005.