26 October 2017
The first customer has connected to the Health and Social Care Network, which allows health and care organisations to work better together to provide improved care for patients.
Crescendo Systems Limited, a third party digital dictation and clinical records management systems firm, became the first organisation to gain access to the Health and Social Care Network, on 19 October.
HSCN, which has been designed and built by NHS Digital in partnership with suppliers and customers, is the successor to the N3 network and will connect the health and social care system through a highly reliable private network and security enhanced internet from a choice of suppliers.
It provides a reliable, efficient, economic and flexible way for health and social care organisations to access and exchange patient records and other electronic information.
Crescendo's connection has been supplied by MLL Telecom, one of 15 suppliers who have already achieved HSCN compliance. There will be a gradual increase in organisations migrating from N3 to HSCN over the coming months, enabling all organisations to benefit from moving to HSCN by August 2020.
The first NHS organisations are expecting to go live with HSCN this winter and include Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Devon Doctors.
HSCN was tested at a number of NHS pilot sites over a three-month period before going live. NHS applications such as the Spine portal, Summary Care Records, Lorenzo, eReferrals and Electronic Prescription Service were all successfully tested.
A number of organisations have already launched procurements to obtain HSCN connectivity and the response from the telecommunications market has been extremely positive both in terms of amount of competition and value for money. All organisations previously connected to N3 are progressing plans to procure and start migration to HSCN over the next 12 months.
Tom Denwood, Senior Responsible Owner for the HSCN Programme at NHS Digital, said: "HSCN represents a fantastic opportunity for health and social care integration right across the sector and will allow organisations to collaborate together more closely which will have a huge benefit for citizen care.
"It is a brilliant example of new technology meeting the demands of a modern and forward-thinking NHS.
"The successful launch sends out the message that HSCN is now open for business and there are so many great benefits that organisations can take advantage of by signing up for the service."
Dermot Ryan, Director of the HSCN Programme at NHS Digital, said: "The first connection to the new Health and Social Care Network is a critical milestone in the journey towards patient-centred care. Fundamental to this success has been the excellent collaboration between the telecoms industry, customers and NHS Digital.
"We now look forward to more organisations taking advantage of the innovation, cost savings and enhanced security capabilities of the network and to creating a thriving market for network services in health and social care.
Ian Wilcox, MLL's Health Sector Business Development Director, said "The first live HSCN connection is the culmination of a well-run programme and should be seen as an exemplar for public/private sector engagement.
"The approach has enabled NHS Digital's clear objectives to be realised through an open dialogue, achieving a framework that does not create an insurmountable barrier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete alongside the large telecoms firms for HSCN services, supporting the Government's policy of increasing SME involvement in public sector contracts."
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