Digital health and data across the ICS regions in 2024: North East and Yorkshire

Following our exploration of the 2024 digital healthcare landscape in London, we’re moving our attention to the North East and Yorkshire ICS region. 

This region is home to four integrated care systems: Humber and North Yorkshire, North East and North Cumbria, South Yorkshire, and West Yorkshire. We’ll be delving into digital strategies and board representation, exploring data from each area, hearing insights directly from the ICSs and more.

Digital strategies in the North East and Yorkshire

Do these four ICSs have a dedicated, publicly-available strategy in place that is dedicated to their digital work?

North East and North Cumbria does, published in 2020 and lasting until this year. It places focus on getting the basics right, continuing to advance and innovate, improving connection throughout the region and beyond, bringing personalised care closer to home, and learning by “using the power of our past and present to deliver the future”. You can access it here.

Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership has a digital strategy too, presented to their board in October 2022. A further update was shared in March 2023, highlighting the shared care record, cyber security, digital inclusion and population health and business intelligence as year one priorities.

West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership shared a public summary of their digital strategy in January 2022 as well as sharing comprehensive information on projects involving digital activity on their website, from eRostering to work around digital social care records.

South Yorkshire ICS does not appear to have a specific digital strategy that is publicly available, but shares insight into their digital work here.


  • Digital strategies in the North East and Yorkshire
  • Case study: ReStart’s interoperability experts support healthcare leaders in the ‘Great’ North East region
  • Insights from Yorkshire
  • Health tech in the North East and Yorkshire: snapshots from the past year
  • Digital leaders
  • Where does each place in terms of data for virtual wards from NHSE?
  • Do the ICSs have digital representation on their boards?

Insights from Yorkshire

Paul Jones, chief information officer for the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Digital Programme and chief digital information officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, shared his views on the current digital focuses within West Yorkshire as well as his thoughts on the future. 

West Yorkshire is a fairly large ICS containing five acute hospitals, Paul said, and one of those hospitals is in the process of moving over a new Cerner EPR in “quite an innovative way – their two neighbouring trusts already have Cerner, and they are all joining onto the same instance.” 

The ICS is also deploying a new pathology system across all trusts to create a network for pathology services in the region. “It’s an example of a digital solution supporting a broader clinical transformation. It’s a major undertaking, as we are moving six large trusts from at least three different systems onto a single system covering a whole region. We’ve gone live with a couple of parts of it and we have some larger-scale go-lives set to happen over the next few months. Ultimately we aim to have a consolidated and modern pathology platform working across all of the different trusts.”

More broadly across the ICS, Paul said that a key focus is how to improve information-sharing across different care settings. At present, the ICS is focusing on improving the sharing of maternity information, which will see maternity systems “plugged in” to the overarching care record. “A lot of this work has been done with the intention of paving the way for other use cases,” Paul commented. “We’ve built the plumbing as part of this project, if you like, so that when we want to follow this process for other areas such as palliative care, it will be a simpler experience.”

Regarding plans for the future, Paul said he would like to see more automatic tracking, whether that is tracking patients, beds or equipment, “so that the status of your hospital is really clear. We also need to get to a place where all patient information is structured, coded, clear, joined-up and used to drive decisions. This would allow us to focus on more pre-emptive care.”

Paul also picked up on the New Hospital Programme in West Yorkshire, which will see a brand new adults hospital, a new home for a children’s hospital, and reportedly the UK’s “largest single site maternity and neonatal centre” built in the centre of Leeds. A virtual ‘fly through’ of the planned facilities can be found here. “We’ve started talking about this – what should a digital hospital in a major UK city look like, say in 2035? How far away are we from that and what needs to happen?”

He concluded by pointing out that a lot of the things that need to change in order to achieve future visions of digital health “aren’t really digital in themselves – it’s not about the technology. Tech will get better, it will get slicker. We need clinical teams and clinical leaders who agree that it is the right thing to do for patients; feeling that it will not put them at risk of their clinical registration; and feeling that it is safe. If we can get over those barriers, then I think we will get a lot closer to where we want to be.”

Liz Leggott, project manager at the South Yorkshire Primary Care Workforce & Training Hub, also shared some insights into her region. On what digital projects and programmes the hub is focusing on at the moment, Liz highlighted the virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools that can be used to enhance their training officer to international GP trainees. “We are using 360 digital twin of a GP practice overlaid with clinicians, explaining their roles by way of induction and introductions,” Liz shared, “and we are using body swap tools so that our trainees can practise active listening and clear communication methods, because they can see how they’ve done by having their performance reflected back at them.”

The team are also utilising AI to help trainees practise their consultation skills, and working on testing out a virtual nurse placement along with the creation of cytology training in VR.

As for what the wider South Yorkshire ICS is prioritising for the future, Liz reflected that a likely focus is bettering the digital skills of the workforce. She noted that some PCNs have used their funding to employ digital lead roles, where others have been employed by a federation in the area, and also drew attention to the ongoing work of the Innovation Hub, a partnership between South Yorkshire ICS and Health Innovation Yorkshire and Humber. The Innovation Hub brings people together from the NHS, primary care, local authorities and university to share ideas and challenges, and to work collaboratively to “improve patient wellbeing and ways of working across South Yorkshire.” Find out more about the Hub’s work here.

Case study: ReStart’s interoperability experts support healthcare leaders in the ‘Great’ North East region

Integrations to the Great North Care Record

The Great North Care Record is the high-profile programme for sharing patient information for over 3.2 million people living in the North East and North Cumbria (NENC). The information recorded about people’s health and care to staff across health and care sectors, such as diagnoses and treatments, makes an important impact on the delivery of care by supporting availability of the right information in the right place, at the right time.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Following the successful deployment of SystemC Medway, ReStart were invited to provide further support to County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CD&DFT) for their work sharing clinical data and outcomes through the Great North Care Record, underpinned by Cerner Health Information Exchange (HIE), we were able to connect patient information from GP, local hospitals, social care, community and mental health teams in one place. This was a fantastic collaboration of health and social care organisations across the North East and North Cumbria, providing an integrated care record, accessed under direct care only, for the people living in the region. The successful deployment was underpinned by ReStart’s integration expertise, system architecture and data migration tools.

The solution allowed CD&DFT to share data such as ADT, episodes, in/outpatient, radiology results (textual), pathology results (textual and numeric), clinical documents, A&E (ADT/DS) and medications. The migration of data and ongoing integration of system wide data gives staff a complete overview of a patient’s care record, supporting a joined-up approach to care through access to more accurate data, in real-time.

North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHFT)

As a result of ReStart’s ongoing and trusted integration support relationship with North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHFT), we were invited to deliver the Trust’s integration with the Great North Care Record for Patient Engagement Portal and Clinical Documentation. This initiative aimed at extending the scope of the shared care record throughout the North East region to deliver further benefits. ReStart developed multiple interfaces from NTHFT’s Health Connect Integration Engine enabling the Trust to share patient demographics, visits, appointments, and allergy information with the Great North Care Record.

Wider Benefits

Integration with the Great North Care Record has realised the shared focus on improving the health and wellbeing of the region’s population. By working together and sharing technology and data, North East and Cumbria ICS can make better use of the resources it has as well as making it easier to work ‘at scale’ when working on issues that are bigger than one organisation.  

Working with ReStart has allowed the Trusts to have access to a pool of integration resources and improved insights to support their interoperability goals. ReStart can also provide 24/7/365 integration support with access to a dashboard view for internal IT departments to view activity in real-time.

ReStart has worked with 49% of NHS Trusts, providing 24/7 integration support to 20% of Trusts and currently working in over 50% of ICS’s. ReStart’s team of interoperability experts and solutions connect healthcare leaders across all regions. Learn more about ReStart.

Health tech in the North East and Yorkshire: snapshots from the past year

Looking back at the last year, we’ve covered a range of news from the North East and Yorkshire, including EPR procurements, digital strategies, new collaborations, and more.

In November, Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust has announced TPP SystmOne as its electronic patient record provider, “following a dedicated period of procurement”, as part of its “Be Digital” programme. The EPR contract will last for ten years, with an option for a five-year extension, and the solution will be introduced across eighty sites, as well as being integrated with the Yorkshire & Humber Care Record.

At the beginning of 2024, we covered the publication of the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT) Annual Report for 2022/23, which highlighted the role that digital and data played in helping make improvements for both patients and staff across the region. Among “major milestones” identified by the report were a major capital investment in digital diagnostics, the success of the Scan4Safety programme, the deployment of SupplyX shared Inventory Management System, and the Yorkshire Imaging Collaborative radiology transformation programme.

February saw us cover the publication of a draft research and innovation strategy in North East and North Cumbria ICS, which set out seven principles including a focus on collaboration across the region to capitalise on assets, infrastructure and relationships “to unlock new technologies, accelerate clinical trials and develop new methodologies to meet the health and care needs of our population”.

Also in February, South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub announced a three-year partnership with Google aiming to bring investment in the region’s health tech research and training, with a focus on tackling inequalities and driving economic growth. Along with promoting new health technologies and growth, the partnership will provide the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University with 500 Google Career Certificate scholarships, to support those aspiring to work in digital health across the region.

Digital leaders

HTN recently chatted with Sarah Hanbridge, chief clinical information officer for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, to hear about some of the projects, plans and priorities for the trust in 2024 and beyond. Sarah told us about her work launching a new clinical digital strategy, the trust’s visualisation, optimisation and digitalisation programme, their work with digital champions and more. Read the interview in full here.

Also from Leeds Teaching Hospitals, we spoke with digital nurse and Shuri Fellow Jessie Dhaliwal. Jessie chatted about topics including her journey into digital nursing, the way that her role fits into the wider organisation, and the skills that could benefit someone looking to get into a similar role. Click here to catch up with what Jessie had to say.

In one of our HTN Now webinars, Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ deputy chief midwifery information officer Misbah Mahmood took us through the digital maternity journey at the trust, sharing insights into the implementation of an end-to-end maternity EPR in Leeds and discussing how the team has developed their own public health dashboard. You can catch up with Misbah’s discussion here.

In another interview, we heard from Paul Rice, chief digital information officer for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Paul discussed his experiences working in the digital landscape, the benefits and challenges of a developing and retaining a digital workforce and the importance of championing a digitally positive NHS; his interview can be read here.

From Airedale we also hosted Rachel Woodington, digital care hub manager at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, for a discussion on the virtual COPD service launched at the trust, including key learnings, how challenges were tackled, benefits and more. Rachel’s session can be read back here.

Expanding on her comments on how digital is being used to support training for the healthcare workforce in South Yorkshire, Liz Leggott also joined us for a panel discussion on digital primary care last month, sharing insight into the use of tech at her hub and her hopes for the future. Click here to read more.

Do the ICSs have digital representation on their boards?

Next, let’s take a look at the make-up of each ICS board, to see whether there is specified digital representation.

North East and North Cumbria has a chief digital and infrastructure officer sitting on its board, and West Yorkshire has a non-executive member covering the remit of finance, digital, people and performance; North Yorkshire and Humber also has a non-executive director who specialises in digital healthcare transformation and “plays a key role in the development of [the ICB’s] data and digital committee”.

Between the four ICSs, there are three members representing digital from a total of 89 people sitting on the boards.

Where does each place in terms of data for virtual wards from NHSE?

Over the past few months, we have been looking into the experimental data released by NHS England on virtual ward capacity and occupancy. The data explores statistics from each ICS, giving us an idea of their progress in this area. In particular, it measures the virtual ward capacity of each ICS per 100,000 GP-registered population aged 16 or over, given that NHSE shared an ambition for each ICS to achieve a capacity of 40 virtual ward beds per 100,000 adults as of December 2023.

If we take a look at the most recent figures, released in February, we can see that each of the four North East and Yorkshire ICSs have yet to achieve this figure – South Yorkshire ICS is leading the way with 20 virtual ward beds per 100,000 adults, with 17 from West Yorkshire, 16 from North East and North Cumbria, and 12 from Humber and North Yorkshire.

In terms of occupancy, West Yorkshire is achieving the highest figure with a reported 63 percent occupancy; Humber and North Yorkshire is achieving 60 percent; South Yorkshire 55 percent; and North East and North Cumbria 48 percent.

Click here to access the statistics in full.

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