Usher Institute

NHS Global Digital Exemplar Programme Evaluation Programme

Formative and summative evaluations of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Programme.

This work is now completed.

Summary (Research in a nutshell)

Digital Exemplars

The majority of existing empirical work on the implementation/optimisation of information systems and associated care and business process transformation across sectors (i.e. not only in healthcare) strongly suggests that paying attention to sociotechnical factors is imperative.

Key tenets here include:

  • Achieving joint optimisation of social, technical and organisational sub-systems. Inadequate attention to optimising even one of these components may jeopardise optimisation of the whole system
  • As the technical, social and organisational sub-systems are interdependent, changes in one sub-system are likely to affect the other.

The key aims of our work were to:

  • conduct formative and summative evaluations of the GDE Programme (including GDE and Fast Follower sites)
  • facilitate learning across GDE and Fast Follower sites and the wider NHS
  • assess individual, organisational, and strategic transformations needed to achieve improvements in quality, safety and efficiency through health IT in the NHS.

We worked jointly with NHS England/X, the NHS Digital Academy, and Trusts to ensure that the GDE Programme was successful in achieving its vision and that appropriate infrastructure and leadership were in place for sites to achieve international excellence and to advance the ‘Paperless 2020’ agenda.

We conducted a longitudinal mixed-methods formative and summative evaluation of GDE and Fast Follower sites. We undertook in-depth investigations of 12 purposefully selected sites, complemented by more targeted data collection in the remaining sites. The evaluation provided independent feedback to support the efforts of leading English hospital Trusts to achieve international best practice in digital health.

Key people

Name Role
Professor Robin Williams Principal Investigator
Dr Kathrin Cresswell Principal Investigator
Dr Serena Tricarico Programme Manager
Professor Aziz Sheikh Co-Investigator



Global Digital Exemplar Programme Evaluation website

Key Collaborations

University College London

Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit

Partners and Funders

NHS England


Oct 2017 - August 2021

Scientific themes

digital health, digital maturity, digitisation, paperless, information system, blueprinting, policy making