Cisco Spark in the NHS

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Well there you have it. In a remarkable change of heart, NHS Digital, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Improvement together recently penned an announcement stating that:

“NHS and social care organisations can safely locate health and care data, including confidential patient information, in the public cloud including solutions that make use of data off-shoring.”

Breaking from the previous stance that public cloud, and specifically storage of personal data in off-shore data centres represented a threat to data sovereignty, the line is now very much that the gloves are off, and that US data centres party to Privacy Shield have their seal of approval.

For the NHS this means a total change in engagement dynamic for IT strategy. Gone is the reliance on developing in-house or even in-region private cloud solutions, which though secure can be a pain in the wallet. It also means that the fifth largest employer in the world can start aligning more with the big IT players vying for its business.

This is none more evident than in Unified Communications and Collaboration. As healthcare organisations become increasingly digital, and citizens increasingly mobile, it is critical for patients and staff to be able to communicate anywhere, anytime, with anyone. A robust collaboration solution must address not just the technology, but also the culture, processes underlying your strategy. It must enable organisations already under stress to do more with less and provide the best possible patient experience using the technology available on the market.

Several of the main Unified Comms players have been manoeuvring public cloud offerings into place via US-based data centres for a while now. It seems many of these organisations, finding it relatively simple to roll out UCaaS and VaaS across the United States and Canada, ran towards the blazing beacon of Europe’s colourful marketplace and straight into the complexities of the individual regulations of its member states. As a result, some started by spinning up data centres for Europe in the UK then stopped at The Channel, others cherry-picked the national markets they were going to go after and established footholds there, and others stuck with their US data centres for simplicity and opted to box from distance.

But what about the patients in all this?

Well, aside from the obvious “how can I get hold of my doctor quicker”, the primary concern was that if a healthcare worker were to discuss with a patient or about their records with a colleague on a messaging system hosted outside the UK, they would have no control over that data and what happens to it once the conversation has ended. It was considered much more secure to keep this kind of communication in on-premise systems and have full control over it whilst in flow, and when stored.

The growth of public cloud though has become pubescent and the ability to provide secure solutions in the cloud is being proven on a daily basis. Whilst on-premise and UK-based private cloud systems did once have the upper hand, they are now starting to look inefficient, asset-draining and cumbersome. Public cloud can provide huge cost savings for customers, without having to compromise on security.

In short, the brakes are now off for organisations like the NHS to look at Cisco Spark Cloud Collaboration, which though it was always known that European data centres were coming, had long been ruled out due to its being hosted by Cisco in their secure US data centres. Now that these have been given the thumbs up, we at Cinos Communications Services can help customers realise the huge benefits Cisco Spark Cloud Collaboration and Team-working service can bring to UK healthcare.

Cisco Spark delivers the full collaborative experience, including messaging, voice, video, meetings and mobility, is hosted entirely in the cloud and encrypted end to end. This all makes for a complete communications solution, which sees your telephony, video, messaging and physical meetings all brought together digitally using Cisco Spark. Enhance the natural motion of clinician team working, allow patients to simply schedule a video consultation and join from their desktop, and eliminate confusion and time lost leaving voicemails sending emails and generally trying to hunt down that specialist you need.

Cisco Spark can include cloud and on-premises collaboration deployment models in one subscription-based offer. This is a simple and economical way for customers to make the transition to the cloud, and at Cinos Communications Services we have unified the Spark Cloud service with our UK-based telephony service to give Hybrid Dialling. We’ve also built a suite of services around Cisco Spark just for healthcare. That’s all the benefits of the Cisco Spark Cloud application whilst still being able to dial locally to and from UK DDIs, safe in the knowledge all information is secure.

Speak to us today to learn more about our free Cisco Spark trial. As a Cisco Premier Partner, we can set you up with a 30/60/90-day trial of Cisco Spark, Cisco Spark Board, and Cisco video endpoints so you can enjoy the full ‘browser to the boardroom’ Spark experience. Furthermore, we can help your organisation with cultural adoption of Spark, ensuring all users are totally comfortable with the new technology at their fingertips and guaranteeing you a successful deployment.

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