Public Services > Healthcare

HSCN launches with first live customer

Published 26 October 2017

Digital dictation firm Crescendo Systems becomes first organisation to gain access to Health and Social Care Network


Third party digital dictation and clinical records management systems firm Crescendo Systems has become the first organisation to gain access to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

HSCN, designed and built by NHS Digital together with suppliers and customers, succeeds the N3 network and will connect the health and social care system through a private network from a choice of suppliers.

NHS Digital argues HSCN provides a reliable and flexible way for health and social care organisations to access and exchange patient records and other electronic information. 

The first NHS organisations are expecting to go live with HSCN this winter and include Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Devon Doctors.

HSCN was tested at a number of NHS pilot sites over a three-month period before going live. NHS applications such as the Spine portal, Summary Care Records, Lorenzo, eReferrals and Electronic Prescription Service were all successfully tested, NHS Digital has said.

Crescendo’s connection was provided supplied by MLL Telecom, one of 15 suppliers who have already achieved HSCN compliance. A steady increase in the number of organisations migrating from N3 to HSCN is expected in the coming months, enabling all organisations to benefit from moving to HSCN by August 2020. 

All organisations previously connected to N3 are said to be progressing plans to procure and start migration to HSCN over the next 12 months.

Tom Denwood, senior responsible owner for the HSCN Programme at NHS Digital, said, “HSCN represents a fantastic opportunity for health and social care integration right across the sector and will allow organisations to collaborate together more closely which will have a huge benefit for citizen care.

“It is a brilliant example of new technology meeting the demands of a modern and forward-thinking NHS.

“The successful launch sends out the message that HSCN is now open for business and there are so many great benefits that organisations can take advantage of by signing up for the service.”

Dermot Ryan, director of the HSCN Programme at NHS Digital, said, “The first connection to the new Health and Social Care Network is a critical milestone in the journey towards patient centred care. Fundamental to this success has been the excellent collaboration between the telecoms industry, customers and NHS Digital. 

“We now look forward to more organisations taking advantage of the innovation, cost savings and enhanced security capabilities of the network and to creating a thriving market for network services in health and social care.

Ian Wilcox, MLL’s health sector business development director, added, “The first live HSCN connection is the culmination of a well-run programme and should be seen as an exemplar for public/private sector engagement.

“The approach has enabled NHS Digital’s clear objectives to be realised through an open dialogue, achieving a framework that does not create an insurmountable barrier for SMEs to compete alongside the large telecoms firms for HSCN services, supporting the government’s policy of increasing SME involvement in public sector contracts.”

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