Health Education England (HEE) has recruited 17 digital fellows to incorporate digital health expertise within their careers.

The fellowship, first recommended in the Topol Review, allows clinicians to combine their clinical training or current job with digital transformation work.

It provides them with time and support to design and deliver digital health projects and initiatives in their trusts, and a programme of workshops and mentoring to stimulate and support fellows to lead digital health transformations for NHS staff and patients.

HEE has invested £250,000 into the programme and revealed more than 250 people applied to become a digital fellow.

Patrick Mitchell, director of innovation and transformation at HEE, said: “This will be an exciting opportunity for NHS clinical staff, including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, dentists, healthcare scientists, pharmacists and others, to shape and accelerate the NHS digital revolution.

“The Topol programme for Digital Fellowships aims to support NHS organisations to invest in clinical staff to lead digital health projects and to develop specialist digital skills, while giving clinicians enough time outside of clinical commitments to dedicate to training for a digital future.”

Fellows include nurse Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi who is hoping to utilise a cloud-based solution that includes a digitally-enabled ‘smart clinical history’ web app, and pharmacist Monsey McLeod, who wants to look into electronic augmentation of prescribing feedback to improve medication safety and reduce patient harm.

The fellowship was first mentioned back in February 2019, at the launch of the Topol Review – an independent review led by US doctor Eric Topol that addressed how the NHS could support staff as it digitises.

Speaking at the launch of the review, health secretary Matt Hancock said: “This programme will give clinicians the skills to make a practical difference to their local NHS organisations and start them on a career path to become CCIOs and CIOs.

“That way, those leaders can help train and prepare our workforce for a digital future.”

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