The £240m funding is an extension of what was originally called Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards Technology Fund, intended to help implement electronic records.
This amount will be available from 2014 to 2016, with £160m of awards due to be received this year and £80m in 2015/16.
In this round of bidding, councils are encouraged to submit joint bids with NHS bodies as NHS England claims this will promote record sharing across the whole system.
“Proposals will be eligible only where the applicants can evidence a value for money return within a broader benefits realisation framework of greater than 1:1 for e-prescribing solutions and greater than 1.5:1 for all other integrated digital care record solutions,” says the bid document.
As well as evidencing a return on investment, applicants are also expected to match any award themselves with their own capital or equal revenue investment amount.
Any assets created with this funding will remain the property of the NHS Trust, Foundation Trust or local authority and it must be capitalised.
The use of open source is also strongly recommended in the document, with NHS England claiming that it encourages the creation of a community of developers.
“The intention is plain; by taking an open source approach it will be possible to gain better engagement from clinicians and other frontline users across multiple NHS organisations,” claimed the document.
“An open source approach also helps eliminate the supplier ‘lock-in’ associated with proprietary offers and delivers benefit to NHS organisations as a whole,” it adds.