Experiential presentation at launch of the Digital Academy

NHS Digital Academy

Delivering a world-class curriculum to equip NHS leaders with the skills for digital innovation.

The NHS Digital Academy is a virtual organisation set up to develop a new generation of excellent digital leaders who can drive the information and technology transformation of the NHS. The aim is to create a workforce with the professionalism, capability and capacity to lead the NHS to a new digital future. The one year programme commissioned by NHS England is a partnership with Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), the University of Edinburgh and Harvard Medical School. The Helix Centre Design Strategy Team plays two roles in the programme — first, in the development and delivery of the user centred design module and second as creative directors of the participant experience.

Display board in the Royal Society

The introductory experience to Module 2 at the launch of the Digital Academy, held at The Royal Society

Applications to join the Academy, which was announced by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State of Health in September 2016, were welcomed from existing and aspiring digital leaders across health and social care including Chief Clinical Information Officers, Chief Information Officers, and senior operational, technical and clinical managers.

The need for an NHS Digital Academy was identified in the independent report, “Making IT work: Harnessing the power of health information technology to improve care in England,” by Professor Bob Wachter, published in September 2016. The report said that creating a fully digitised NHS was vital to the NHS’s future but experience showed that “just installing computers” did not work. It called for a “major effort” to place well-qualified clinicians with advanced informatics training in every organisation. “It is not just about the technology, it is about the people too,” it said. This was the driving force behind the Academy's motto: people before technology.

"We want to build a vibrant, self-sustaining community of inspired leaders who will drive NHS digital transformation."

Professor Ara Darzi, Director, Institute of Global Health Innovation

The Academy’s Co-Directors are Professor the Lord Ara Darzi, Director of IGHI, and Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute for Population Health and Informatics. Rachel Dunscombe, Director of Digital for Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, a partner in the initiative, is the Academy’s Chief Executive.

Back to Design Strategy Team