The first primary care provider and third sector organisation have successfully connected to the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).
Devon Doctors, which provides primary care across the county, and Earl Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight have successfully joined the HSCN in the past month.
HSCN has been designed and built by NHS Digital in partnership with suppliers and customers to connect the health and social care system through a hybrid network providing highly reliable private connectivity and security enhanced internet, from a choice of suppliers.
Devon Doctors runs eight out-of-hours treatment centres in the county. HSCN will provide them with improved network performance and integration with other care local care providers, such as nursing homes. It will also save them money.
Arron Gardner, IT manager at Devon Doctors, said: “We hope to benefit from improved performance, and aid integration with new providers. HSCN will be the foundation network for this integration, and give us a step towards technology improved healthcare. We saw the benefit in cost-savings that the switch to HSCN will bring for all. It is a more competitive marketplace with multiple providers, and moving to the network now has given us extra bandwidth that our clinicians can use when working with apps and other online services that will benefit patient care.
We are also aware of the benefits the Advance Network Monitoring Tools will bring, to help improve security for any provider utilising the HSCN Internet provision. HSCN will provide our connection to introducing new services such as virtual triaging. We plan to work with nursing homes to have a virtual clinic with a clinician that will help to support patient and resident care.”
Earl Mountbatten Hospice
HSCN has also opened the door for Earl Mountbatten Hospice to give their staff access to their systems while out in the community and paves the way for more technology-based care in the future. The hospice has a 16-bed inpatient unit, but most of its work is carried out in the local community where, on any one day, staff care for and support over 650 people in the places that they live across the Isle of Wight.
Richard Eason, Earl Mountbatten Hospice’s Systems Developer, said: “We were using a local hospital N3 connection on the Isle of Wight prior to going live with HSCN. When we were looking for a connection we were able to get quotes from a number of different suppliers and find a package that suited our needs. We found it was considerably cheaper than N3. We hope to be using HSCN for our nurses in the community to connect to our system using a secure VPN, as well as our nurses at base being able to use HSCN to access some services at the hospital, which require HSCN connectivity.
“We are also interested in looking at future digital services that HSCN will be able to provide, particularly in using HSCN services to integrate with other sectors of care and the aim is to use HSCN as that conduit to use patient services across different sectors. We are also looking at using HSCN to support video calls to support our patients on the frontline, allowing patients to book their own appointments online and view their own records.”
Devon Doctors and Earl Mountbatten Hospice have their connections provided by Redcentric.