The UCL Institute of Digital Health has signed a partnership with Cerner UK to “close the gap between what is learned in research and what is delivered in healthcare partnership.”

The Institute is a network of researchers, projects and research centres with an interest in the potential of digital technologies to improve health and wellbeing; particularly at a population level.

Its website says its key ambition is to “advance research in digital health that is technologically leading and socially relevant.”

In a statement, it said it and its staff already work closely with Cerner, and the new partnership will cement the relationship.

“UCL has a long-standing relationship with Cerner, in both research and teaching, and this is a great opportunity to build on past collaborations to deliver future research that makes a real difference in practice,” said Ann Blandford, the institute’s director.

Specific aims of the partnership include closing the gap between research and practice, “developing the future healthcare workforce” and making sure it has appropriate IT skills, and reducing the time to market for digital health innovations.

“With this partnership, not only will we focus on what the health and care of the future should look like, we will also make sure that this care is delivered to care providers as soon as possible, and that their workforces are ready for it,” said Geoff Segal, general manager for Cerner UK and Ireland.

Many students who train at University College London end up using Cerner information systems, the statement added.

However, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust itself still uses an electronic patient record system developed by IDX and later bought by GE Healthcare.

It is one of just two in London using LastWord / Carecast, which was originally picked for deployment across the capital as part of the National Programme for IT in the NHS. London later adopted Cerner Millennium for the programme.

Earlier this month, the other trust still using LastWord, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, announced that it was going to adopt Cerner Millennium.

It will share an instance of the system with its neighbour, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and also have a joint chief information officer, Kevin Jarrold.

University College London Hospitals announced in May 2015 that it had asked another well-known IT veteran, David Kwo, to work on a replacement for its electronic patient record system.

Kwo’s last job was at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which deployed Epic in one of the highest-profile IT projects of recent years.

A decision on what system University College London Hospitals will go for is expected imminently.

Digital Health Intelligence: holds information on the clinical systems installed at trusts across the UK and uses this to calculate a Clinical Digital Maturity Index score. University College London Hopsitals NHS Foundation Trust has a score of 81 and a ranking of 37 / 153 (subscription / log-in required).