Abstract Background Having a tax-funded and supposedly ‘National’ Health Service (NHS), one might assume that the UK is well-positioned to roll out eHealth innovations at scale. Yet, despite a strong policy push, the English NHS has been limited in the extent to which it has exploited the potential of eHealth. Main body This paper considers a range of macro, meso and micro factors influencing eHealth innovation in the English NHS. Conclusions While barriers to eHealth innovation exist at all scales, the fragmentation of the NHS is the most significant factor limiting adoption and diffusion. Rather than addressing problems of fragmentation, national policy seems to have intensified the digital divide. As the recently published NHS Long Term Plan places great emphasis on the role of digital transformation in helping health and care professionals communicate better and enabling people to access the care they need quickly and easily, the implications for the digital divide are likely to be significant for effectiveness, efficiency and equity.



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BMC Health Services Research

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Peninsula Medical School