Funding of £2.2m has been awarded to 43 projects as part of the new Information Sharing Challenge Fund.

The Department of Health launched the fund in August to support information sharing projects that can be replicated across the NHS through the interoperability toolkit.

The DH received 95 applications asking for a total of £5.6m and has awarded 43 projects at 38 trusts or NHS organisations funding of £2.19m.

Of these; 25 are clinical correspondence projects; seven are admission, discharge and transfer projects; five are related to telehealth; four are health and social care projects; and two are dashboard projects.

All must be completed by the end of March 2013 and trusts will be paid in instalments as they hit milestones along the way. The DH said 47 new vendor applications will be accredited due to the fund.

NHS Commissioning Board interim director of intelligence, patients and information directorate Bill McAvoy said the money marks “a significant leap forward in encouraging local innovation to allow for effective information sharing between NHS organisations, social services and the third sector.”

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had three successful bids worth more than £90,000 in total.

Deputy IT director Clive Stringer said his team was very pleased to have been awarded the funding.

“Without the funding from the challenge fund it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to get these projects agreed, because they benefit the whole health community rather than deliver specific cash releasing benefits to King’s alone.”

One of the three is a project to standardise cardiac referral messages.

Stringer said there are interoperability challenges around cardiac referrals within South London and Kent as the hospital transfer systems cannot talk to one another.

A large number of cardiac patients are transferred to specialist units in South East London so, “having systems that didn’t talk to each other was a real issue."

“From an ITK point of view it was ripe for some standardisation,” Stringer added.

Another successful project is to make a new open source integration engine, that the trust is developing with Tactix 4, ITK compliant.

“Because all the work is based on open source and will be published free of charge, other trusts using the same integration engine will be able to benefit from the project upon completion,” he said.

The trust started building the integration engine about three months ago and has recently gone live with the first ten of 50 interfaces.

The third project is implementing PCTI’s EDT Hub for sending clinical documentation to primary care.

Stringer explained that because the trust already sends this information electronically – via NHSmail – it was difficult to put together a business case that showed sufficient cost benefits of upgrading to EDT hub. However, the hub is a safer and more efficient system.

Getting the projects completed by the end of March is a challenge, but two of them mainly involve work by suppliers rather than the trust, he added.

Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust has also been awarded funding to implement an electronic observation system that will result in medical teams having easier access to patient observations.

Anne Thomson, of the electronic observation implementation team said: “This is a really exciting project that will enable easy and remote access to patient observations by facilitating more timely intervention – helping to prevent cardiac arrests and reduce avoidable deaths.”