HSCN: making sense of your options

Paul Bulmer.png
by Paul Bulmer
Head of Propositions

Choosing the right technology partner is the critical element to making a success of your migration from N3 to HSCN.

The concept of health and care organisations being able to source critical data connections through a competitive, multi-vendor marketplace is one that’s hard to disagree with.

At a time when financial and operational resources are being squeezed tighter than ever, the prospect of being able to procure data connections on the basis of strategic fit and best value is a welcome breath of fresh air.

But, for many, the first question is how exactly to approach supplier selection in an area where, until now, the decision has been made for you.

There’s a world of advice out there so take advantage

HSCN opens up a new world of professional and technical advice for organisations constrained by N3’s single vendor economy, but do you wait for more clarity on HSCN and other Government initiatives before firming up your strategy or do you start talking to accredited suppliers straight away?

The smart money is on talking to your industry peers as much as possible and starting the conversation with accredited suppliers now.

We’ve already had several conversations with NHS organisations, private sector care providers and suppliers. We’ve talked about strategy approaches for different key drivers, from cost-effectiveness and ease of management to service resiliency.

What keeps coming up is an inclination to wait for more advice from NHS Digital before moving forward. This suggests that the options for both connectivity and procurement are poorly understood; in particular, how to procure in the most efficient way.

"Should I replace “like for like” or take the opportunity to re-evaluate my wider network strategy?"

"Do I really have the resources or knowhow to procure by myself or should I join a collaborative or aggregated procurement?"

Finding the right long-term technology partner

You’ll want a clear, simple solution and a structured approach to engagement that makes migrating easy and straightforward.

However, given that the core HSCN service will barely differ from supplier to supplier, crucial differentiators will include quality of service and the strategic design options they can offer.

As a starting point, talking to suppliers will give you an opportunity to assess their knowledge and their strategic and cultural fit as your prospective technology partner; then you can use their expertise to help you formulate your strategy.

You’ll want an agile approach, where you and your supplier work collaboratively to achieve a result; where opportunities to create efficiencies are identified and promoted, and where each side has an eye to how the service could continue to evolve to accommodate future requirements.

If you’re to seize this opportunity to create a network for tomorrow, to share and collaborate securely, it’s about who you partner with today to make it happen.

As with any procurement, due diligence is your best friend but, in the end, success will depend on choosing a partner who shares your ambitions and cares about that success as much as you do.

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