Usher Institute

Digital Academy set to transform NHS care

Digital masterclasses are to be offered to healthcare professionals to drive innovation in the NHS and improve patient care.

Edinburgh is joining forces with Imperial College London and Harvard Medical School to launch a NHS Digital Academy.

The virtual organisation aims to train 300 IT leaders for the health service over the next three years.

New technologies

It will equip healthcare professionals with the skills to use new technology to improve the patient experience, and deliver service efficiencies.

Experts are developing 12-month, part-time training programmes for NHS staff. These will cover topics including leadership and transformational change, public attitudes to the sharing of data and responding to user needs.

Global expertise

Courses will mainly be delivered online but will also include a residential component and a workplace project.

Participants will have access to the world’s foremost experts to ensure they graduate with an international outlook and a network of global leaders in the field.

Developments in digital capabilities and data science are transforming many facets of our lives. It is crucial that these developments are now also harnessed to improve health care processes and patient experiences.

Professor Aziz SheikhCo-Director, NHS Digital Academy and Director, University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute

NHS Digital Academy

Plans to establish an NHS Digital Academy were announced by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, during a speech in 2016. Edinburgh, Imperial College London and Harvard Medical School have been selected to lead its development after a competitive tender process.

NHS Digital Academy Co-Director Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham said a world-class team has been assembled. The partner institutions have an unrivalled record of using academic rigour to translate ground-breaking research into digital health solutions.


Matthew Swindells, National Director of Operations and Information at NHS England, said a digitally transformed NHS demands a workforce that has the skills, knowledge and insights to improve and innovate.

Related links

Edinburgh Medical School

NHS Digital Academy on NHS England website