HSCN - required by Third Party Applications?

Hi All,

My name is Josh and I am just starting upon my journey down the rabbit hole, which is health IT.

I am working alongside a company that has developed an AWS cloud-based application, which observes a patient’s possibility of cognitive impairment. They are looking to integrate it with secondary care EHRs at the moment, however we are not 100% sure they would require to get a connection to HSCN.

From what we have gleaned, ‘HSCN is necessary to access NHS services’, therefore we interpret that as national Spine services and not necessarily trusts at a local level.

Therefore the question I ask is: Based on your knowledge of NHS IT, would you think a HSCN connection for a third party application would be necessary to integrate with a trust’s EHR system, with patient demographics being pulled/pushed? (or possibly desirable, as we move into a ‘less secure’ internet environment, as a safety net)

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I don’t think it is required.

I’m also working with a new EPR vendor also hosted on AWS. We believe we can receive updates to our system from a hospitals PAS - it would probably be configuration the trust could do connect externally to AWS and we would need to do some IG work.
official guidance is here Guidance on public cloud connectivity to HSCN - NHS Digital

Thank you for the input Kev.

I understand all the ‘First’ policies that are flying about, but I know that there can be a hesitance to new things, especially when moving from something which was engrained as ‘gold standard’ for security over the years. (e.g. I was still using a DOS-based LIMS until a few years ago)

Do you feel that the requirement for a HSCN connection, from a procurement aspect, is less major now?

Its not required - but you will find that you wont be able to do some things, and will probably vary from trust to trust.

Thank for the response Stephen; when you say you can’t do some things do you mean at a local level or national level? (i.e. access to local EHR data vs Spine services)

so, have you found an answer to your question? i’m wondering the same thing now. thanks in advance for answering

Hi Paul,

I’ve had a number of talks with various people, the advice I got from NHS Digital was that a HSCN connection is ‘strongly recommended’.

Although from others, it seems like it depends on the situation/deployment. I was considering HSCN initially as we needed access to the NHS Spine PDS service; although I have been told this now has internet-facing APIs.

The only instance that we have been told HSCN could be advantageous, is if a trust houses their EHR on-premises; although I imagine there may be other ways to overcome this barrier.

Hope this helps!

thanks a lot! but you have tried it yourself?

Unfortunately not, due to current circumstances, we have not gotten to that point yet.

Also I have noticed that NHS Digital have recently revamped some of their webpages on HSCN; worth a read.