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05 Oct 2017

Why value-added services will be crucial to the success of HSCN

Continuing his focus on HSCN, Jeremy Wastie, business development director at Updata, discusses the importance of Value-added services and how they will add significant benefit to NHS organisations to make them more efficient, function better and meet their operational objectives.

Why value-added services will be crucial to the success of HSCN
In my last article I spoke about the need for early engagement by NHS organisations with suppliers to assess their own individual Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) requirements.

At Updata, our view is that one size will not fit all – one of the absolute fundamental benefits of HSCN over the outdated N3 network it is replacing, is the ability to have tailored and bespoke solutions and a selection of value-added services. It is therefore essential that NHS organisations engage now with the supplier community to get the solution that works best for them.

The good news is that since Updata was named one of the first six providers to secure Stage 1 compliance as a Consumer Network Service Provider (CN-SP) for the new network, we have been dealing with a large number of enquiries from NHS organisations directly. We have also had visibility of some aggregated procurements coming to market which NHS Digital is sponsoring and other procurement notices which are more PSN-based with an option for healthcare.

While it is very positive that the CN-SP community is being engaged by potential clients, many of the questions and themes we are responding to are: “When can I start consuming this service?”; “How much is it going to cost?”; and “I know my N3 network is ending, how do I renew my connectivity?”.

These are all fairly fundamental questions, suggesting there is still some way to go before the true value of the new service being offered through HSCN is fully understood by the market. There is still uncertainty around where to go, who to engage with, and the pricing structure – these are all issues which suppliers will need clarity on in order to plan their service and ensure there is no disruption.

But while connectivity is obviously its foundation, the new network will be able to provide so much more besides connectivity – provided clients are given clear options.

In the previous blog I highlighted the analogy of buying a car: you don’t just purchase the cheapest option available, and there are a large number of other factors to consider to get the best fit for your needs.

For example, beyond the core connectivity that is provided by suppliers, there should be a wide range of value-added services that will add significant benefit to NHS organisations to make them more efficient, function better and meet their operational objectives.

So, over and above the basic HSCN connectivity that is joining people from the core network, what we see as a vast improvement for NHS organisations is the value-added services that are now available from some suppliers that can be consumed without the need to invest in any more hardware.

For instance, the ability to add improved internet capacity, web filtering, cloud connectivity, DDoS services, voice and telephony connections, wireless access points, storage, the list goes on. These services will provide much needed choice and flexibility for NHS organisations as they assess their connectivity options post-N3.

Updata wants to be able to provide its own value-added services to HSCN customers, because we think this is what will give them proper value for their organisations. It’s not just about connection per se, although you have got to have that first, it’s what comes with it, and how those extras help with your specific digital agenda.

In order to make the absolute most of HSCN, and really bolster return on investment and value for money for each individual client, the CN-SP community should be able to bring a whole basket of services to market, and provide the opportunity for clients to have broader engagement around what’s available.

We believe this is what NHS users would like to see. They want to have access to that open market, and to get best value. Once they have got a secure connection and are HSCN compliant, there is then a gateway to lots of other services that they should be maximising.

Value-added services will be key to the success of the HSCN market and it’s important that NHS Digital allows clients to focus on what bespoke solutions they might need, as opposed to encouraging an overly-regulated connectivity. If not, the danger is that NHS organisations may miss out on both the package that best suits their needs, and the value-added services which can help support that drive for return on investment.

Make an informed choice based on the facts. Take advantage of our free connectivity assessment to ensure you have the right network services, integration, processes and partners in place for the future.

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