London's Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is looking to become a “research and innovation exemplar for the wider NHS and internationally” with the launch of a centre called DRIVE – Digital, Research, Informatics and Virtual Environments - set to transform the use of technology across health and care.
Launched through a partnership with University College London, NHS Digital and leading experts in technology, AI and digital innovation, the new centre is expected to become a space for clinicians, NHS Digital technicians, UCL students and other industry partners to collaborate and drive “rapid translation [of solutions] into clinical practice rather than policy or public health developments”, according to the Memorandum of Understanding between NHS Digital and GOSH.
“The aim is to use technology and data to provide – safer, better (data driven) and kinder care that is clinician focussed and patient centred. DRIVE is the how and provides the capability to develop scalable solutions to improve healthcare,” said Dr Shankar Sridharan, DRIVE Clinical Director.
The DRIVE team, with the help of UCL Computer Science and their Industry Exchange Network and support from the Great Ormond Street Children's Charity, is working with Arm, Barclays, Microsoft, NTT Data and Samsung.
The centre has already been helping a project called Fizzyo, which aims to improve physiotherapy care for children with cystic fibrosis through electronically chipped airway clearance devices and wearables that facilitate data transmission from children's homes to the clinicians and researchers caring for them.
Sarah Wilkinson, NHS Digital Chief Executive, who will sit on the DRIVE strategy steering group, said the new unit would allow “collaboration and innovation at pace”.
“The NHS needs a dramatic acceleration in digitisation in order to be able to deliver to its full potential. There is much opportunity in leveraging proven commodity technologies, with little customisation, to address key digitisation challenges and I am certain that when we bring those who understand the need together with those who have already designed and delivered applicable technologies, we will be able to create new fast lanes in our digital programs,” Wilkinson added.
Through DRIVE, GOSH has also been recreated in a Minecraft world to help patients familiarise themselves with the hospital and virtually meet other patients in an effort to improve their experience.
Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK CEO, said the launch of the centre marked "an important step in the AI journey for the UK healthcare sector".
Correction: This article has been edited for clarity.