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Radical new digital health plan for region facilitated by University of Bradford graduates


Innovative site takes users on a virtual journey through a new ‘joined-up health landscape’

When health officials wanted a website to showcase a radical change in the way healthcare is to be delivered in the region, they turned to the University of Bradford.

University graduates at the campus-based Working Academy have been instrumental in creating the new ‘People First, Digital First’ website, which brings all healthcare providers, from GPs and hospitals to commissioning groups and the council, under one roof.

It will mean shorter waiting times for patients, more accurate diagnosis and treatment and better outcomes.

Simon Couth, manager of the Working Academy, said: “The big news for us is the University has facilitated this joining up of digital health innovation. Graduates from the University have made this website and it shows they are getting opportunities to make cutting edge digital content that supports the university and the wider public.”

All local health and social partners are part of the new ‘digital roadmap’, including Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, Bradford Council, Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) and the University of Bradford. IT partners Cerner and TPP are also an integral part of the journey.

Chief Digital Information Officer for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, Cindy Fedell, said: “The current Covid-19 pandemic has shown we have the digital creativity and capability to work differently to support patients, families and carers, and this will continue to be a priority. The message is here in Bradford district and Craven we are ready, willing and – above all – able to play a key role in the NHS and social care’s digital transformation locally, in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, and nationally.

The University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Transfer, Professor John Bridgeman, said: “The University is committed to working with local partners to help strengthen the health of all our communities and I am delighted to see our graduates working so effectively with both The Working Academy and local healthcare providers in this way.

“Our district-wide digital strategy outlines our ambition to drive transformation through digital healthcare. This strategy speaks to our collective vision, mission and principles for future development – making Bradford and Craven a driving force in improving care through better technology, which is good news for everyone.”

Additional information

The initiative is a practical example of how the university-led Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ) can change people’s lives for the better.

DHEZ is part of a £13m partnership led by the University of Bradford and the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, with £3.5m of funding from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership has supported DHEZ from the outset as the regional hub for digital health innovation.  

Simon Couth added: “The other message is the DHEZ is open for business. This is what we’re all about. If we want more apps, more online tools, augmented reality, then DHEZ is here to help you build your business and micro-enterprise. DHEZ is there to incubate and develop graduates who make products like this.”