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How the NHS & HE can network securely

27 November 2013 at 12:09pm

3 – How the NHS & HE can network securely

This stream is about securely connecting NHS and Higher Education institutions locally in recognition that models for this do exist and this may be a preferred route than national infrastructure being developed nationally. This is typically the case with the large teaching hospitals and their links to their partner Universities. It covers fixed connections but also what has become clear is the fast pace of innovation with sharing wireless networks.

a.Fixed Connections

University of Manchester and the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT) has been directly connected to the University of Manchester (UoM) since 1996. This case study discusses how UoM and CMFT cooperate to provide Janet access to University staff based on the CMFT site. The same link is used to provide controlled access to Janet for CMFT staff and to provide network access for in-patients at the CMFT Hospital School. Update November 2012 - there is work going on to formaise this link under the Janet Business and Community Engagement policy as NHS Trusts can be University BCE partners.

Clinical Research Imaging Centre: University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian Joint Venture

A demilitarised zone is created for the imaging machines so that imaging data can be move appropriately between NHS and University networks depending on its use for clinical purposes or, with appropriate pseudonimisation, research.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Sheffield

A brief description of a clinical research facility was provided as an adjunct to the case study on IT accounts for academic staff and students
Research projects that use clinically derived information should be documented via Trust Research Department processes.  These processes include input from the Trust Information Governance Department. Pseudonymisation using the NHS Number as the key is permitted in relation to data transfer to commissioners.  (See e.g.:  NHS – Information Governance Framework for the processing of patient information for secondary purposes – 2009.)  Research studies should use a local secure key and should not use NHS Number as the key.

STH has implemented a dual stage data warehouse process to support research studies.  A data warehouse “environment” has been established by extracting data or by taking data feeds from various clinical systems and databases.  This data is then “replicated” onto a separate database environment on the “academic DMZ”.  (STH has a direct high-speed firewalled network link to Sheffield University.  The “academic DMZ” is linked to the firewall between the two networks.)  In the database replication process, data is pseudonymised and all patient identification is removed from e.g. text reports.

b.Shared Use of Wireless

This has been a particularly active area for development and now has its own NHS and eduroam/shared use of wireless page.