A funding pot of almost £100,000 will be released to NHS organisations to encourage new IT ideas allowing them to share information more easily across the health service.
The DH Information Sharing Challenge Fund will make up to £99,000 available in a bid to boost the number of innovative ideasand projects in the NHS.
It is claimed NHS organisations can bid for funding as long as their ideas "demonstrate value for money" and can "easily be adopted" by wider NHS staff under the NHS Interoperability Toolkit – a set of standards and frameworks which allows different IT systems to connect together.
"We want to support doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to be innovative in the NHS," said Health Minister Lord Howe.
"That is why we have created this fund to encourage NHS organisations to come up with new digital ideas that not only improve services for patients but help create an environment where local IT information can be more easily shared across the NHS. I look forward to seeing the ideas that come forward."
Maternity Digital Capture and Telehealth are currently being piloted across the NHS and have been touted as "good examples" of innovative IT.
Intellect, the trade body for the UK's technology industry, hopes the fund will enable NHS organisations to make their IT ideas "a reality".
However, it warned the DH and the NHS Commissioning Board "has more to do".
"The 'challenge fund' with its limited 'prize money' is a start but may not be enough to tip the scale in favour of the NHS Interoperability Toolkit (ITK) becoming the default model for the NHS and industry," said Paul Cooper, Intellect Health & Social Care Council member.
"We hope that this is just the beginning of a campaign to advance interoperability and effective sharing of information across the NHS."