HSCN… a healthy opportunity for the channel

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Michael Bowyer, Director at Innopsis, the industry association for suppliers that provide network services to public sector bodies, says there is a huge opportunity for the channel via the Health and Social Care Network (HCSN). Innopsis represents large organisations right through to SMEs, resellers and micro businesses.

HSCN, which replaces N3 in March 2017, differs from its predecessor in delivering a disaggregated supply and service model that enables all suppliers, regardless of size, to compete for public sector healthcare and social care business. As such, HSCN offers smaller, local and regional resellers the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. HSCN also demonstrates best practice in collaboration between NHS Digital and industry…something that we hope and expect to see a lot more of in public sector procurement in the coming years.

Innopsis represented industry when it came to creating the Obligations Framework for HSCN and is advising its members on standards, compliance, opportunity and approach to market. Reflecting the latest technological advancements in the supplier market, we set out to improve upon N3, which saw BT deliver one of the largest private networks to the NHS in the UK, but also to be attractive to all organisations connected with healthcare. HSCN now offers resellers, regardless of size, a viable route to market that extends beyond the NHS into the social care arena.

Delivering 38,000 connections as a minimum, HSCN is a very attractive prospect for any reseller that is keen to deliver services to public sector, regardless of previous experience in this sector.

Despite increasing budget constraints, healthcare providers, from GP clinics to social services, continue to strive for improved integration and consistency of service across the health and social care continuum. The major benefit of HSCN is that buyers are no longer restricted to dealing with only the larger vendors or resellers but are instead able to select from any compliant supplier to ensure that the solution meets their specific needs, improves the quality of service and delivers value for money.

HSCN differs from other government frameworks such as G-Cloud in that it is not a framework that suppliers need to bid for. Suppliers simply need to abide by the service and obligations standards. Services can then be procured through a number of routes or frameworks such as RM1045 or any local procurement activity. There are currently around ten suppliers working towards HSCN compliance and we expect that number to rise to around fifty, although the model is unlimited and therefore presents one of the biggest opportunities for the channel we’ve seen in recent years.