Voting is now open for Healthcare IT Champion of the Year; the coveted accolade that is decided by the readers of eHealth Insider.

This year’s contest promises to be the toughest ever, with a record 17 nominations to choose from.

So many nominations have been made that voting has been split into two rounds, with only the top six from the first round going through to a final and deciding round.

You now have two weeks to cast your vote in the first round, and the second round will be run in September.

Linda Davidson, co-founder and director of eHealth Insider, said: “The Healthcare IT Champion of the Year is always a highlight of the summer, but it is going to be harder than ever to choose between some fantastic nominees.

“Industry experts, IT managers and clinicians at every level of NHS IT are represented, and the people who sent in their nominations were often passionate about their candidate. We wish them all the very best.”

The Healthcare IT Champion of the Year award, which is sponsored by CSC, was founded to celebrate individuals who work tirelessly to promote healthcare IT through individual practice, professional organisations, and the NHS itself.

This year’s nominations are:

Dr Paul Altmann, chief clinical information officer, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust

Anne Cooper, national clinical lead for nursing, Department of Health Informatics Directorate

Dr Michael Dahlweid, chief medical and innovation officer, Healthcare group, CSC

Neil Darvill, director of health informatics, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Andrew Fearn, director of ICT services and senior information risk officer, Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust

Glen Griffiths, patient e-health / digital healthcare specialist, vice chair – BCS Primary Health Care Specialist Group

Dr Amir Hannan, GP at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres, primary care IT clinical lead for the Health Informatics Clinical Advisory Team at NHS North-West

Andrew Hooper, head of IM&T, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

Di Millen, head of workforce development and professionalism, Department of Health Informatics Directorate

Eddie Olla, director, Nottinghamshire Health Informatics Service

Jayne Parr, website development officer, Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

Martin Powis, head of ICT (informatics), NHS Bradford and Airedale

Enid Povey, associate director, clinical information and development, NHS Direct

Dr Avish Punater, GP and chair of Microtest User Group, Symons Medical Centre, Maidenhead

Carl Reynolds, national clinical fellow with an interest in change management and health IT, organiser of the NHS Hack Day

Dr Jonathan Richardson, consultant in old age psychiatry, clinical director of informatics, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, chair Royal College of Psychiatrists Informatics Committee

Christine Walters, associate director of IM&T, The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

More information about the nominees and the voting process can be found on the website of the EHI Awards 2012 in association with BT.

Previous winners of the award have been: Mike Bainbridge, the then clinical architect of NHS Connecting for Health and Sue Rushbrook, head of systems and network services at York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Andy Inniss, a control training supervisor in South Western Ambulance NHS Trust won in 2009; and John Thornbury, then the ICT director of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, won in 2010.

Last year’s winner was James Norman, director of IM&T at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The winner of Healthcare IT Champion of the Year will be announced at a black-tie dinner in London’s Covent Garden on Thursday, 4 October.

The winners of all the categories of this year’s awards will be announced at the event, which will take place in the sumptuous surroundings of the Grand Connaught Rooms. To find out how to book tables and tickets, visit the EHI 2012 Awards website.