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An ‘N3 aggregator’ has reduced the lead time for connection to the NHS N3 IT network for third party NHS suppliers from over six months to one month.
This has generated more than £2.7m inward investment, following funding and support from the Innovation Agency and the N3 aggregator service provider, AIMES.
For new innovative, digital services to be adopted within the NHS, suppliers need connectivity to the NHS N3 infrastructure for access to clinical and administrative data and systems, such as patient records and electronic booking.
It typically takes at least six months for an external supplier to be given access to the infrastructure and requires a level of Information Governance accreditation beyond the capability of many small businesses.
The number of services and applications which require access to NHS data and systems is growing rapidly, and this is impacting upon the capability of the National Accreditation Service within NHS Digital to process demands for new N3 connections. As a result, the lead time to getting an N3 connection is increasing, which has become a barrier to innovation and growth, and to delivering new secure, digital services to patients across the UK to support new models of care delivery.
We provided £136,000 towards the Connected Health Innovation Partnering Platform run by AIMES Community Interest Company, which has installed a dedicated, managed N3 network connection into a highly secure data centre at its base in Merseyside.
This N3 aggregator significantly reduces the time required to enable connectivity to the NHS network through removing the need to create a series of new N3 connections for companies. This is done by configuring the N3 aggregator environment to meet both NHS Digital information and IT security requirements as well as the needs of companies on a case by case basis.
After its launch in February 2016, AIMES have secured a number of major contracts including the More Independent personal health record platform led by Liverpool CCG; and the Connected Health Cities initiative funded by HM Treasury.
As of March 2017, there were nine confirmed commercial contracts in place worth over £360,000 and six grants awarded totalling a further £2.3m. Another £140,000 of business is in advanced discussions and there is a strong pipeline of additional opportunities with local NHS organisations, academia and industry that is being pursued across the North of England.
The commercial returns already far exceed the overall investment of around £1 million.
The lead time for third party NHS suppliers to connect to N3 has been reduced from six months or more to one month, which will speed up future adoption of digital services and drive the future business pipeline for AIMES. The investment has led to the creation of two permanent positions with another three posts due to be created over the next 12 months. The investment has also helped AIMES achieve an increase in turnover of 10 per cent compared to the last financial year.
John Webb, Digital Programme Manager, Liverpool CCG:
“For Liverpool CCG, the implementation of the AIMES N3/Cloud service is another major step in creating an environment where health innovation can flourish.”
Dr Dennis Kehoe, CEO, AIMES:
“The funding provided by the Innovation Agency has directly accelerated the deployment of cloud-