FourNet works with some of the UK’s leading hospitals, health boards and ambulance services to deliver 999 and 111 contact centre solutions, communications and collaboration capabilities and secure network infrastructure.
Our Community Cloud capabilities provide the technological capabilities to enable Integrated Care Boards to deliver integrated health and social care services across multiple different organisations. Providing access to the latest technology and economies of scale, a FourNet Community Cloud solution removes the technological barriers to collaboration and enables the sharing of scarce resources and services.
Working together for patients
FourNet provides the communication, collaboration and connectivity solutions required to modernise a Healthcare organisation’s engagement with patients.
Our range of collaboration solutions provides healthcare professionals with the capabilities to collaborate within and between organisations, linking the patient data and processes of an Electronic Health Record system into our Contact Centre and Unified Communications solutions. This single-patient view ensures all users have access to the right information to deliver the best outcomes for the patient.
FourNet’s Secure Infrastructure solutions ensure that patient data is held and accessed securely by the right people.
Evolving patient expectations
The impact of the pandemic has driven the use and take-up of digital technologies across health and social care. Video consultations with GPs and surgeons have become commonplace, and the centralised booking system for vaccinations and the NHS app providing a front-end consolidation of the patient record has created increasing expectations among patients for digital options.
FourNet’s Patient Experience (PX) Consulting can help healthcare organisations track the patient journey, simplify processes and divert appropriate contacts to digital channels, thereby freeing resources to focus on more complex challenges.
This can help improve patient satisfaction, reduce costs, simplify appointment scheduling to reduce no-shows, increase patient care-plan understanding and adherence, and deliver overall operational efficiencies.
Supporting Integrated Care Systems
The creation of the Integrated Care Systems to deliver joined-up health and social care to citizens requires inter and intra-organisational collaboration and data sharing. FourNet’s Community Cloud solutions are designed to support this collaboration within and across organisational boundaries. Our Community Cloud solutions are already helping deliver shared omnichannel contact centre capabilities and connectivity for GP surgeries for appointment booking and prescription re-ordering and are enabling the secure sharing and access of patient data between local authorities, acute and mental health trusts to deliver better patient outcomes.
Shared economies of scale are giving healthcare organisations access to the latest technologies such as AI powered chatbots which not only triage and divert patient queries but are also helping overcome scarce language and translation skills.
The challenges faced in Healthcare
With an aging population suffering from long-term, chronic conditions, reduced budgets, staff shortages and missed appointments the pressure on healthcare providers has never been greater. The value of improving communication and delivering virtual care can help alleviate some of this burden.
Citizens over 65
An aging population: people aged 65 and over are a large and rapidly growing group - there are currently more than 11.9 million people aged 65 and over in the UK, with 3.2 million aged 80 and over and 1.6 million aged 85 and over.
In April 2022 there were estimated to be over 25 million GP appointments in England. This was around 10% more appointments per working day than in April 2019
Medical devices available
There are approximately 600,000 medical devices available on the UK market. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of medical devices by enforcing the relevant regulations
Poor communication was a factor in 35% of all complaints and cost the NHS over Â£1B per annum last year.
Think digital tools and service are more efficient
60% of the NHS workforce survey respondents agree using digital tools and services to engage with service users will make them more efficient
Missed GP appointments cost the NHS Â£216m a year, with around one in 20 wasted annually because patients fail to attend without informing the surgery; that's more than 15m missed appointments each year.
999 calls per years
In 2019, before the COVID pandemic, the ambulance services were handling 47% of all 999 calls in the UK.
Think digital technology makes operations cost effective
72% of the workforce survey respondents agreed that digital technology allows the NHS to operate more cost efficientlyover 210,000 a day; the online 111 service provides people with the right advice and frees up clinical call handlers' time so they are able to prioritise 111 phone callers experiencing symptoms.
FourNet Solution Portfolio
Our solutions integrate with everyone
How Cyber Threats are Impacting Healthcare
In healthcare, cyber security is often focused on the network, However with the emergence of more sophisticated attacks and the proliferation of connected devices across even the most basic of environments, the scale and complexity of what needs protecting far exceed just the network. In this article we look at why healthcare is a prime target and the types of vulnerabilities being exploited.
it is worth taking a moment to understand the differing motivations behind cyber-attacks. Firstly, most attacks are profit-related, and personal data is a lucrative currency with a tangible value. Hospitals, GP’s, and Dentists all store a considerable amount of confidential patient data. being able to steal data or hold it for ransom can be profitable. In fact, the profits from cybercrime far exceed that of organised crime.
Secondly, we live in a world that is less than harmonious and state-sponsored cyber-attacks are increasing. The recent conflict in Ukraine with Russia will undoubtedly see a fresh wave of cyber-attacks targeting both industry and infrastructure. This is further backed by CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency), whose members include the USA, UK, Australia, and Canada. In April 2022 CISA, issued a warning that critical infrastructure organisations should immediately protect themselves against state-sponsored and cybercriminal attacks from Russia.
Whilst Cyber-attacks are not limited to Russia, it does highlight a growing risk and the need for healthcare providers to be vigilant and take appropriate measures to mitigate risks.
In addition, many victims of security breaches are not necessarily the intended target as attacks spread and grow across countries and organisations. For example, some fall foul of an malicious email and lack adequate security provisions to prevent infection.
Over the last few years, several large-scale attacks have impacted the healthcare sector significantly.
One example is the Irish Healthcare system attack in May 2021. This large-scale ransomware attack affected almost every part of the healthcare system at a time when the country was already stretched fighting Covid-19. The attack saw staff having to revert to paper to keep things running, and appointments dropped by 80%. The ransomware attack was executed by Russian-based Conti ransomware group, who reportedly demanded the Irish health service pay £14m to restore services.
Cybersecurity programme manager Dr Cormac Doherty, at the Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation at University College Dublin, worked as part of the state’s response to the attack and told the BBC, “They look for organisations who are vulnerable and don’t look after their information security. In addition, if governments and organisations are perceived to have the means to pay, you can expect them to be targeted in the future. ”
Setting aside the financial cost. The knock-on effects of cancelled radiotherapy, operations, consultations, and routine surgery go far beyond monetary value and into life and death scenarios. So how do you count the cost of such things?
The Problems with Security in Healthcare
Unfortunately, there are no simple solutions, and the challenges around cyber security in healthcare are broad and require a multi-faceted and layered approach to addressing them.
Below, we have addressed a few of the significant risk areas for healthcare providers.
One of the significant challenges around this is the threat to patient data. Mobile devices carry an inherent risk and, if not protected or misused, can lead to lost, stolen or compromised patient records. Outside of these risks, there is also the increased risk of installing malware that can compromise systems and confidential data.
The UK government states that it is “developing a robust, world-leading regulatory regime for medical devices that prioritises patient safety” and “will take into consideration international standards and global harmonisation in the development of our future system”. This commitment will be bolstered through the powers created in the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill.
Whether it’s X-Ray machines, Life support systems, or Monitoring equipment, if these are connected to the network, they are exposed to any threats entering the network and are at risk of being compromised and exploited.
To give a real-world example of the risks around connected devices, a Fisher price toy ‘Smart Bear’ was found to have several security flaws that could allow attackers to steal a child’s name, birthday and gender and other data.
This took place over six years ago, and the complexity and intelligence around cyber-attacks now are massively different.
Imagine that same scenario if an attacker could hi-jack and control a ventilator in ICU.
“We’re keen to change the understanding of cyber from a technology to a patient care issue” Phil Huggins CISO for the Department of Health and Social Care
However, it is only recently that the focus on Cyber security has grown, which has seen this rise in priority on the board room agenda. How cybersecurity is perceived is also changing. With an incident potentially impacting patient wellbeing, there is a movement to realign this as ‘patient and clinical security, which changes the perception and dynamic when fighting for the budget.
The resource pressures on IT teams and lack of investment also manifest themselves in other areas. Another major challenge is older legacy systems and devices that expose the organisation to significant risk. If these cannot be patched/protected, they should be replaced, but many budgetary constraints and a lack of security awareness have seen these changes put off.
Staffing and resourcing are also a challenge. With the continuing complexity of systems and technologies, the skillsets often needed to plan, deliver, and support robust cyber practices are not there. Whilst organisations do all they can, with what they have, this still leaves many exposed to outside threats.
With our health sector experience, FourNet understands the nuances and challenges faced. The need to digitally adapt and transform healthcare has become more critical as technologies become more advanced.
Partnering with FourNet, you have an experienced partner who can help guide and deliver needs across varying IT disciplines such as Patient Experience, Cloud, Security, Contact Centre and IOT & Automation can provide advantages in both scoping and delivering change.
We offer a broad portfolio of services and can assist out of the box with free Cyber Threat Assessments (CTAP) and Phishing tests to check staff’s propensity to respond to common cyber-attacks.
Our award-winning Agile cloud and Antenna solutions deliver secure community-driven cloud solutions and allow providers to reduce expenditure and control costs for the longer term.
Whether you are looking to align services and systems or boost cyber defences across the trust, we have the experience, capabilities and desire to help you deliver the right solution and achieve the right outcome.