Usher Institute

Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Programme Evaluation

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

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 are:

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

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

We are conducting a longitudinal mixed-methods formative and summative evaluation of GDE and Fast Follower sites. We are undertaking in-depth investigations of approximately 12 purposefully selected sites, complemented by more targeted data collection in the remaining sites. The four year evaluation will provide independent feedback to support the efforts of leading English hospital Trusts to achieve international best practice in digital health. Through engaging with NHS staff, as well as international centres of excellence, and providing formative feedback to policy makers and managers, the team will seek to help ensure that the GDE Programme will achieve the potential significant benefits associated with health information technology.

Key people

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



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 - April 2021 (3 years and 6 months)

Scientific themes

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