Cloud is the way to go for the health sector

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The healthcare sector within the UK is under pressure to provide citizens with better patient care and more online-based services.

In a recent blog, I discussed how the cloud can help improve agility, reduce costs, and drive innovation. And in no place is this more prevalent than health. The cloud serves as a platform for various critical systems and stores vast amounts of patient data for NHS trusts, hospitals and GP surgeries across the country.

In turn, this allows health organisations to proactively diagnose diseases through data mining and machine learning techniques. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has big ambitions for the sector and is advocating the use of cloud-based systems to help share information “seamlessly and securely” between GPs, hospitals and social care settings.

So, cloud is the way to go – but how do you purchase cloud services?

Launched today, the NHS Shared Business Services Cloud Solutions framework provides “a concise, OJEU-compliant, flexible and accessible route to procure cloud solutions for public sector authorities”. Helping reduce the complexity of traditional procurement cycles by providing direct access to trusted cloud services and solution providers.

You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief by anyone with previous experience purchasing new IT services. Traditional procurement cycles are long!

Having worked on multiple cloud projects in the healthcare sector, the move to cloud is a journey – and it’s great to see this is how the framework is set out. The framework consists of four lots each containing services to help organisations at different stages of the cloud journey:

  • Lot 1 Solution Design and Consultancy
  • Lot 2 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Lot 3 Cloud Support Services
  • End-to-end Cloud solution

An organisation could purchase initial ‘getting ready’ type services such as architecture design or migration planning if they are just starting their cloud journey.

Whilst, lot 2 and 3 focus on ways organisations can improve, enhance and optimise their cloud experience from a choice of deployment models, hosting configurations and any specialist supporting services as required.

And let’s not underplay the fact this framework encourages and supports an agile methodology. Suppliers are able to bring forward new products and solutions throughout the life of the agreement – helping ensure health organisations are able to pick from the “latest and greatest” the world of IT has to offer.

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Users are presented with two purchase options;

  • Direct award
  • Mini competition

Direct award is simple, contracts are awarded directly to suppliers on the framework.

The latter – in my opinion – is a great benefit as it facilitates bespoke services and really allows suppliers to tailor their services to meet the needs of health organisations. Cloud is complex, there are number of variations from technology choices to deployment options. This framework provides a way for organisations to purchase the right solution at the best price.

Finally, the NHS Shared Business Services Cloud Solutions framework has only the highest quality services from the best suppliers. Only twenty-four suppliers have been selected for the framework and I’m pleased that UKCloud Health is one of them.

UKCloud Health has extensive knowledge and experience having worked with hundreds of NHS organisations. We have broadened our portfolio of services and capabilities and can cater for organisations regardless of where they sit in their journey to the cloud.

UKCloud Health have been selected for Lots 1 and 3 and are actually only one of only 10 suppliers on Lots 2 and 4.

To find out more about the framework, I’d encourage you to sign up to the upcoming cloud solutions webinar on the 17th of September by NHS Shared Business Services.