More than ten organisations are struggling to meet the deadlines for ITK projects funded by the Department of Health’s Information Sharing Challenge Fund.

In December, 43 projects at 38 trusts or NHS organisations were awarded money for information sharing developments that could be replicated across the NHS through the interoperability toolkit.

EHI is profiling three successful projects over the coming week as part of a series focusing on the fund.

Projects have to be completed by end of March 2013, but several look like they will fail to meet the deadline.

In a letter to NHS organisations in January this year, Bill McAvoy, NHS Commissioning Board interim director of intelligence, patients and information directorate, said he was concerned with the progress some projects were making.

“At present more than ten of the projects are reporting delays to the milestones set out in their application form and project award agreement,” the letter says.

“As I am sure you are aware, delivery of the milestones proposed in your application to the fund is very tight and these must be completed by the end of March 2013 in order to get paid from the fund.”

McAvoy adds: “Any monies left unspent by the end of March 2013, will, sadly, be given back to the Treasury and this would impact our collective credibility in launching schemes such as this in the future.”

The DH launched the £2.2m fund in August last year and received nearly 100 applications before the closing date in October.

When the winners were announced in December, the DH said 47 new vendor applications would be accredited due to the fund.

Trusts have been paid in instalments as they have hit milestones along the way.

Of the projects that received funding, 25 were clinical correspondence projects; seven were admission, discharge and transfer projects; five were related to telehealth; four were health and social care projects; and two were dashboard projects.

Connecting for Health announced on its website in January that it was looking for ideas for future ITK projects.

NHS organisations and other interested parties were asked to vote on the topics such as: developing standards for messages pertaining to bed management; interorganisation exchange of outpatient letters; and patient access to EHR via mobile device.

Connecting for Health is in the process of collating and analysing the votes.

“In early March we will make a development recommendation to the NHS Commissioning Board based on the voting result and the availability of suitable development resource,” the website says.