HSCN represents a significant change for Innovation into Healthcare and the NHS

Posted 7 months ago

What does HCSN mean for Healthcare providers and software vendors servicing the NHS?

BT have dominated  technology into healthcare for a long time and monopolies are never a good thing for a market sector that needs innovation, transformation and change. This has been evident in healthcare for a painfully long time.responsible.The N3 network is a single vendor environment by choice and by design and denies the NHS the freedom and flexibility it needs to adapt to the ever changing demands placed upon it. 

The Public Services Network (PSN) has been pretty successful and is generally well liked by its customers. It’s multi-vendor and has a wrap of process and governance around it to ensure standards are met and maintained and market competition ensures better pricing.

HSCN is destined to go the same way. It’s been in the making for a very long time but  has been massively delayed through a lack of interconnecting with the existing N3 network. 

So what will HSCN do for Healthcare?

Healthcare generally buys services  from a well-established framework with N3 services largely being controlled by BT. As we move to HSCN, the ability to buy services will change. Frameworks such as G-Cloud from CCS will be accessibleresulting in a significant reduction in cost (no BT added margin) greater supplier choice with thousands of SaaS vendors instead of solely BT approved services. 

The choice challenge

A real challenge facing Healthcare is  going from limited choice to seemingly endless choice, while maintaining Public Sector Procurement rules in a ‘follow the herd’ mentality sector. What is needed now in Healthcare are some pioneering leaders that can pave the way for change.

Changing from N3 to HSCN might sound fairly minor but it is, in reality,    the most significant catalyst for change within healthcare for over a decade. This chance to evolve could have huge cost saving benefits and, most importantly,  improve the lives of patients. But as the Healthcare pressure pot reaches boiling point, I worry that this opportunity is not fully understood by healthcare professionals. 

Software Vendors

Most software vendors have struggled to deliver Software as a Service (SaaS) to Healthcare in the way they can to general markets. A huge amount of physical hardware exists to support onsite deployments in hospitals and surgeries across the country, and we’ve seen the impact that poor patching and outdated operating systems have with recent Zero day exploits (WannaCry). This coupled with applications being managed and maintained in true 1990’s fashion also means that the applications are often outdated and have a high cost of licensing, support and IT operational management

So for Healthcare and software providers, moving to a pure SaaS model will have huge benefits, from cost, complexity, security, scale and management.

The Opex Challenge in Public Sector

The Public Sector has been incredibly slow to adopt Cloud Services in general. How they are funded and procure is as significant a challenge as the lack of desire of many IT operational hands, who ‘love playing with tin’. The benefits of SaaS consumption should massively outweighs these challenges. It will be down to the shining lights of the healthcare institutes to pioneer change and pave the way for increased adoption. This is going to take time but  will be like opening  a window in a stuffy room. Only once it’s done do you really see the benefits and question why you didn’t do it sooner.

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