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The Health & Social Care Network (HSCN) is enabling greater collaboration, innovation and efficiencies across private and public healthcare. Our handy guide explains how it is helping to drive improved patient outcomes and experiences. Read more below!

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In November 2020, the Health & Social Care Network (HSCN) fully replaced the N3 as the NHS' new data network. The HSCN helps to integrate and transform health and social care services by providing a reliable method to access and share information. With the UK Government’s 2013 ‘Cloud First’ initiative instigating current ‘Cloud Appropriate’ industry discourse, and the NHS’ interoperability ambitions, the HSCN aims to allow easier and smoother access to clinical systems for the benefit of patients and organisations. 

As with all networking jargon, it can sometimes be a bit confusing to understand exactly how connectivity to the HSCN can benefit an individual organisation. When looking at what the HSCN can bring to healthcare, it’s important to understand the day-to-day and real life benefits of an interconnected network. By allowing for simple access to NHS Digital’s national applications, the HSCN makes it easier for organisations to work collaboratively across departments and regions. With interoperability being a priority across the UK, the importance of quick, efficient and secure data sharing has never been greater. Not only does this free up time for innovation and internal projects, it leads to better patient outcomes and experiences.

The HSCN also provides central services, with the established Networks Analytics Service monitoring all network traffic. The NHS Secure Boundary internet filtering service protects organisations from the most sophisticated of network security threats. An improved cloud-based Domain Name System (DNS) has been integrated into the National Cyber Security Centre’s Protective DNS - helping to disrupt the use of DNS for malware distribution and operation. To reduce this into one statement: the HSCN is as secure as physical servers.

There will always be physical infrastructure within any environment, but this doesn’t mean your infrastructure must be solely physical. With a fully secure virtual environment and connectivity to the HSCN for your health care needs, it can allow your organisation to operate rapidly and flexibly, scaling quickly only when the need presents itself. As for edge connectivity, being able to connect over any form of internet access allows flexibility in provider choice and reduces potential costs as well as installation times versus private pipes.

Cloud Gateway has been working with healthcare since before the pandemic, but with the event of an unprecedented (an overused but appropriate term) need for remote access to the HSCN, we ramped up our provision. We have seen first-hand the efficiency and improvements that HSCN connectivity can bring.

Cloud Gateway teamed up with Sensyne and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to improve patient outcomes by using  SEND™ through our Health Connect solution. By utilising the HSCN connection to allow for real-time monitoring of over 200,000 patients, we were able to enhance clinical care and reduce cardiac arrests by double digit percentages. Read more here.

A further example of positive health outcomes we have seen through the use of HSCN connectivity is Cloud Gateway’s work with Involve Kent. Involve Kent launched its Social Prescribing service to tackle the root causes of ill health including isolation, loneliness, disadvantage and frailty in 2018. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated and increased the need for these services, as well as the requirement for the service to be delivered in a fully remote capacity. Cloud Gateway allowed for remote HSCN connectivity to achieve improved outcomes, such as a reduction of GP appointments by 12%, A&E attendances reduced by 12%, and patients reporting a 24% increase in wellbeing with 62% reporting feeling less lonely and isolated. Read more here

To conclude the above into one sentence: cost effective HSCN connectivity that is scalable and can be set up quickly can be vital to improving healthcare outcomes and efficiency. If you would like to know how we can help you specifically, give us a call on +44 (0) 203 870 2444 or contact us here.


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