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Health departments confirm Accenture deal for NHSMail

02/07/15

Contract includes Avanade systems integration and Microsoft platform

England’s Department of Health and NHS National Services Scotland have confirmed the deal with Accenture for it to provide the NHSmail service for the next five years.

NHSmailThe deal, which has been on the cards since the Health and Social Care Information Centre stated Accenture was its preferred supplier in April, also involves Avanade as systems integrator and Microsoft as the main technology supplier. It is understood to be worth close to £70 million.

The suppliers plan to replace the existing email platform from 2007 with deploy a secure, multi-tenanted service based on Microsoft Exchange 2013. It will be made available to almost 700,000 NHS employees in England and Scotland, and extended to selected partners with less secure systems.

The most notable group will be from social care, reflecting the emphasis on its integration with healthcare.

Additional services

They also plan to use the Microsoft platform to deploy additional services, including an enterprise-wide directory and Lync services such as video calls, instant messaging, VOIP and collaboration tools.

There is no firm date yet for the new system’s implementation; it is yet to be worked out by the two sides. The first task will be the migration of existing users, followed by the addition of those not currently on the NHS system.

Aimie Chapple, managing director of Accenture’s UK health business, said: “The new improved NHSmail service will provide significant digital technology improvements to help NHS staff drive even more effective collaboration at all points of patient care. This will be one of the largest mailbox migrations ever delivered and will bring significant benefits to the way NHS employees exchange information, communicate and interact across healthcare.”

Office accreditation

The announcement came as Microsoft also announced that it has won accreditation of its Office 365 software suite as meeting NHS Secure eMail Standard ISB1569. This gives NHS organisations  the choice to gain compliance for their own internal service or migrate to NHSMail.

NHSMail is accredited to Official Sensitive status. Office 365 was already accredited to Government Official, meeting the security standards for routine information; but it has now satisfied the Standardisation Committee for Care Information that the software meets the ISB1596 standard.

This defines how email systems used for personal and sensitive data, such as that which can be used to identify patients, should manage security, and the procedures that staff need to follow.

Alastair Dick, account technical strategist of Microsoft UK told the Local Digital News Blog: “While there is a cost to migrate to Office 365, there wouldn’t be the additional cost of meeting the standard and, as Office 365 is cloud based, it is maintained and backed up by Microsoft, as opposed to an individual organisation having to provide the appropriate backup and storage facilities and then operationally manage them”

ISB1596 is based around ISO27001 with a requirement for the service provider to meet a tailored set of baseline control sets that have been independently audited and ensure that the service’s users adhere to a range of information governance policies and principles.

Image from psd.scot.nhs.uk, Open Government Licence

 

 

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