Speaking at EHI Live on Wednesday, Digital Health editor and CEO Jon Hoeksma will provide an annual health check of the NHS IT market.

Drawing on Digital Health Intelligence CCIO and CIO leadership surveys, detailed market data, and analysis of the NHS IT procurements and purchasing, Digital Health’s CEO will provide an overview of the state-of-the-market at the end of 2017 and prospects for 2018.

Hoeksma will be presenting in the population health stream of EHI Live drawing together highlights of research data from across Digital Health Intelligence, provider of the most detailed and accurate data available on NHS IT.

He will highlight the significant gap exists between where this sits as a high priority area for NHS England policy makers versus the crowded and under-funded priorities of local NHS leaders.

A year since the publication of the Wachter Review and 20-months on from the government pledging £4.2 billion for NHS IT, prospects for NHS IT investment should be positive but money is not flowing to local NHS trusts and STPs.

Despite top-level support for investment in NHS IT as a key enabler of modernisation from the Secretary of State down, investment remains patchy and progress against key targets slower than planned for by policy makers.

The result is that key targets for full digitisation of the health service will not be met, including targets for integrated digital care records and the paperless NHS target

First set by Jeremy Hunt in 2013, when the target was for the NHS to be paperless by 2018, the target has since been successively backwards revised, first to 2020 and then 2023.

Digital Health’s Clinical Digital Maturity Index, the only year-on-year index to track the adoption of clinical IT systems, projects that on current trajectory the NHS will not achieve the target until 2027.

Overall the NHS IT market remains challenging, with the primary reason being the parlous state of NHS finances with the Nuffield Trust calculating the true annual overspend of up to £3.7 billion.

Against this background little of the pledged £4.2 billion has found its way to local NHS organsiations.   What has been released has been redirected into the global digital exemplar programme, where £385m is being targeted into a small elite group of trusts.

And even high-profile flagship projects such as Global Digital Exemplars and the NHS Digital Academy have struggled to actually unlock funding from the Treasury.

Digital Health Intelligence data shows that most NHS IT trusts are uncertain of whether they will receive any national IT investment in the next four years.

Unsurprising then that Digital Health Intelligence’s annual survey of NHS IT leaders found that over half feel negative about the future of NHS digitisation, with uncertainty about the source of future funding cited as the main reason.

Hoeksma said: “The uncertainty over future sources of national funding is an overriding theme of our leadership surveys. The next 12-months will be crucial, as the GDE and Fast Follower programmes funding kicks in and the impact across wider health economies can start to be measured.”

A further key theme for the coming year will be the urgent need for catch-up investment in infrastructure and cyber security by many NHS trusts.

The spotlight on the ageing infrastructure of some NHS organisations, highlighted after the 12 May WannaCry attack, underlined the importance of a robust and resilient IT infrastructure as the foundation for transformational change.

Yet further research from digital health shows that as part of infrastructure modernisation, relatively few trusts have yet made significant moves to cloud based computing or services

Hoeksma will be presenting at 10.30 – 11.00 on 1 November in the population health track at EHI Live, NEC, Birmingham.