Flagship UCL health research institute has entered into a partnership with a global leading healthcare provider in an attempt to close the gap between theory and practice.
UCL’s Institute of Digital Health and Cerner UK have signed an agreement that hopes to facilitate the transfer of “what is learned in research” to “what is delivered in healthcare.”
The Institute of Digital Health, founded in June 2015 as a means to explore how digital technologies can be used within the fields of health and wellbeing, has through schemes such as i-sense, an £11 million programme aiming to provide early warning systems through web and mobile phone diagnostic tests, allowed for the identification of illness much earlier than would otherwise be the case.
Cerner is a global leader in the health care industry, with more than 18,000 facilities worldwide. As their website says, they work at the ‘intersection of healthcare and information technology.’
Ann Blandford, Director of the UCL Institute of Digital Health, said ‘digital technologies are becoming increasingly important in healthcare and in health research. We are keen to further this agenda by partnering with organisations who have expertise that complements our own.’
Geoff Segal, General Manager of Cerner UK and Ireland, echoed this sentiment by saying that “partnering with their Institute of Digital Health is a fantastic opportunity to combine efforts to deliver better, safer and more efficient health IT to the market.’
One of the key aims of this partnership is to shorten the time lag between the discovery and implementation of innovations into the work place. Dr Justin Whatling, Vice President of Population Health at Cerner and Visiting Professor in health informatics at UCL, says that ‘there is an unacceptable gulf between what is learned in research and what is routinely applied in everyday clinical practice – together we are committed to closing this gap.’
This agreement between UCL and Cerner only marks the most recent event in a long partnership that has existed between the two. Many Cerner employees are UCL alumni, and Cerner has often also provided teaching, education materials and speakers for students studying at UCL.
Despite this longstanding partnership, University College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of just two trusts in London still using the now-outdated LastWord/Carecast electronic patient record system in lieu of a more effective and modern system offered by Cerner.
In May 2015, the UCH Trust announced that health IT veteran David Kwo was appointed to work on a replacement for this system excluding Cerner from providing its own services.
Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, the other London trust still using LastWord/Carecast, decided in September that it would be switching to Cerner Millennium.
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