Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s secretary of state for health and social care, has signed off on guidance designed to help public health organisations move data from on-site servers to cloud services in data centres.
The NHS Digital guidance states: “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.
“Cloud providers have a significant budget to pay for updating, maintaining, patching and securing their infrastructure. This means cloud services can mitigate many common risks NHS and social care organisations often face. Cloud services may provide other advantages for NHS and social care organisations including lower IT costs and the ability to develop, test and deploy services quickly without large capital expense.
“As more services for patients and staff move to the internet and the need for better data interoperability increases, it is likely that use of cloud services will become more prevalent in NHS and social care organisations.”
The guidance details the steps NHS organisations should take to prepare to use cloud services.
Suzy Foster, director of health and life science at Microsoft UK, said: “By moving to the cloud, the NHS can begin to innovate and modernise health services in England to truly meet the needs of patients in a sustainable and cost-effective way.”
“Microsoft’s cloud is already helping many public and private sector organisations to deliver services more effectively and meet the evolving needs of citizens,” Foster added. “Azure’s security, 24/7 availability and advanced capabilities make it the obvious choice for the healthcare sector, and we look forward to helping more NHS organisations use the cloud to transform how they work.”
Microsoft has started working with NHS customers to move workloads, such as large file repositories, to the cloud. This also includes implementing recovery solutions to ensure all information is secure.
Adam Donnelly, client director of cloud services at Kainos, a Microsoft Cloud Platform Gold Partner that has delivered major transformation programmes in healthcare, said: “Kainos is delighted that guidance for NHS organisations using public cloud has been published. This will enable the NHS to drive better outcomes and experiences for patients whilst reducing cost and risk in their IT estates. We enthusiastically embrace the UK government’s ‘Cloud First’ strategy and have found using public cloud to be a key enabler of success; the flexibility, low costs and enhanced security help organisations to be more agile and drive rapid change.”
Visit the Microsoft UK news centre for more extracts from the NHS Digital guidance and a video on UK healthcare organisations moving to the cloud.