Becoming an early adopter of the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN)

Many people are surprised to learn that the NHS doesn’t run on the Internet. For 15 years it operated on its own system, called N3, that was managed exclusively by BT. However, when that contract ended in 2016, the NHS decided to open up the system, which led to the creation of the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), something that Accenda was well ahead of the curve in adopting.
Becoming an early adopter of the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN)

To give a little bit of background, HSCN was the result of a long process of updated systems. NHSNet was the first private wide area network service used by the NHS England which came into operation around 1995, which was then succeeded by N3 in 2006, and after an NHS reports, HSCN was the new system brought in to replace it, and the idea is that everyone will have adopted it by 2020.

In a nutshell, HSCN provides the underlying network arrangements for health and social care organisations to access and share information more reliably, flexibly and efficiently. The network has been designed to help support key health and social care initiatives such as National Information Board ‘Paperless 2020’, NHS England Five Year Forward View, Sustainability and Transformation Plans and Local Digital Roadmaps.

Benefits of HSCN:

  • Send and receive secure data between organisations
  • Supports information and service sharing
  • Cheaper connectivity than previous N3 services
  • Simpler network Information Governance requirements
  • Helps staff across health and care work together
  • Standardised networks
  • Affords simpler access to NHS Digital’s national applications, making it easier to confirm NHS numbers, share care plans and access Summary Care Records

At Accenda, we wanted to ensure we were fit for the future and set out as an early adopter to take advantage of the new benefits.

We’d been planning our move from N3 for nine months to make things go smoothly, we worked closely with our GP practices and clinical commissioning groups to make sure they moved over seamlessly. We’d got ourselves up to speed with all the usual hiccups of changing systems – such as devices not being recognised – and worked to ensure this didn’t happen with our projects.

Accenda successfully transitioned on the 15th January 2019, and knowing that we’re on the latest type of connection has been hugely reassuring for our clients. Being able to walk them through the process, and confidently say that it works, has positioned us not only as experts in our field but also a safe pair of hands when it comes to big digital infrastructure projects.

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