Twenty-six of the most "digitally advanced" trusts are being offered the chance to win a £10-million prize to help them become centres of global digital excellence and push better use of health technology.
NHS England is streaming more than £100 million into the programme, designed to optimise the use of digital technology through investment in infrastructure and specialist training, and enable the trusts to become world leaders in health informatics.
To be selected, trusts need to show they will deliver comprehensive use of electronic patients records, information sharing across the local health and care system, such as digital correspondence and test results for patients, and robust data security, NHS England said.
The plan is that the centres will lead the way for the entire system to accelerate the uptake of information technology, "delivering benefits for patients and sharing learning and resources with other local organisations through networks".
"It is evident the benefits of investing in and optimising use of digital technology to improve efficiency and enhance care is more widely understood but we are not yet realising these benefits at scale or sufficiently quickly," said Professor Keith McNeil, chief clinical information officer at NHS England.
"We need to move faster in getting clinicians real time access to accurate information and joining up healthcare systems to improve outcomes for patients and reduce workload for doctors, nurses and other NHS staff. Our aim here is to create a national movement in which the centres of global digital excellence will be core."