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How private and public hospitals can synchronise securely

Mon 27 Apr 2020 | Justin Day

March 21st will be remembered as the day that the NHS struck a major deal with private hospitals throughout the country in order to help combat the seismic capacity overload created by the Covid-19 pandemic. A truly powerful opportunity for positive collaboration but also a task of goliath proportions. 

Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, the NHS had already been in the midst of updating and upgrading the technology that they use. Their ‘internet first’ policy is a huge undertaking in the adoption of new technology and the modernisation of outdated systems, but now with their partnerships with the private sector, it might not just be the NHS in need of transformation but also the UK’s private healthcare sector.

The stakes have seldom been higher for both sides, as our healthcare industry, both public and private health service providers, face the battle of a generation against the Covid-19 outbreak. For private healthcare companies, it’s a race against time to streamline and maximise their capacities, not just in terms of beds in public-private partnerships but also in regards to adoption of technology.

Ensuring security

It’s imperative that this technology is up to the task and for that to be the case it has to be able to withstand the huge increase of capacity without sacrificing security.

In order to be able to synchronise with the public sector, private hospitals will need to increase their access capacity to the NHS’s Health and Social Care Network to be able to work cohesively with government clinical systems and securely access patient records.

The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) is a new private government network for the NHS, which aims to provide the underlying infrastructure for healthcare providers to integrate and transform health and social care services and securely access and share information.

With private hospitals opening their doors to support patients in need of emergency care, cancer treatment and other urgent health conditions, they will need to ensure that vital data is able to be accessed and pass hands securely, and for that to happen, additional capacity for their HSCN connections will need to be deployed.

Thankfully, the technology exists to implement this, and whilst there are a number of providers with the HSCN accreditation needed, most can only operate with a 60-120+ day lead time due to additional hardware needing to be installed.

Every minute counts

The need for this synchronicity is crucial, if the private sector wants to be able to help where it has set out to.

In terms of technology, cloud-native secure access connectivity is the fastest way to get this set up. Not only does modern cloud-native technology have the capacity and speed to be able to handle the increase of usage. The fact that the software can be installed and implemented remotely, with no additional hardware, means that the lockdown will cause no impasse in the transition.

We’re already seeing examples and working with companies jumping on this modernisation of software even prior to the outbreak. Businesses looking to take advantage of those shorter lead times and fluid implementation times. As opposed to relying on hardware installations which could take months to set up, we’re seeing cloud connectivity being deployed in as little as 10-30 minutes.

This follows the Government’s initiatives such as ‘Paperless 2020’ & ‘Personalised Health & Care 2020’ which aims to further the NHS’s use of data & technology to help improve quality of service to patients as well as carers.

The faster that the NHS adapts to using cloud connectivity amongst other forms of new technology, the faster it will help set a precedent for higher care which is the ultimate goal for everyone within the healthcare sector.

Tackling the communication problems

Whilst the private and public sector have worked closely with one another for some time now, there has never been the urgency nor the need for this level of communication before. There is a framework there that needs developing. Modernising the technology that both sides use to communicate is just one step of many. Sharing a similar level of compatibility between the public and private healthcare sectors can only come to the mutual benefit of both parties.

A quick fix or lasting improvement

Every difficult situation poses an opportunity for improvement and the current crisis is no different. The difficulties that the healthcare sector is battling at the moment could very well define it for the years to come.

Investing in hybrid or multi-cloud connectivity is, most importantly, the quickest and most efficient way for private hospitals to be able to access public systems via the HSCN at scale, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this will have a multitude of benefits to the day to day running of organisations now and in the future, especially as a foundation to transformation initiatives in line with government programmes.

The outbreak has highlighted the adaptability of businesses with many companies having to transfer what was a strongly office based mode of operations to a now fully online system. And in doing so are reaping the benefits of streamlined services – and that goes for the healthcare sector too.

In that light, future investment from both sides of the aisle into agile and secure cloud connectivity will need to be made so that both can survive this current pandemic and come out the other side stronger and up to the task of taking on the future.



Experts featured:

Justin Day

Cloud Gateway


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