NHS Wales has signed a £39m enterprise agreement with Microsoft to give its staff access to Office 365 and also for bolstering the cyber defences of its organisations.
The deal is expected to provide modern tools and capabilities to NHS Wales’ organisations that are required to facilitate new approaches of working and better collaboration.
By using Office 365, NHS Wales expects GPs, consultants, paramedics, nurses, therapists, and support staff to communicate and share information securely more easily with the wider public sector in Wales and within the NHS.
NHS Wales informatics service director Andrew Griffiths said: “This new national agreement is part of our commitment to refresh NHS Wales IT infrastructure and ensure it supports the transformational changes taking place across health and social care. It moves our digital estate away from locally managed services and into cloud-based services, delivering efficiencies and economies of scale.
“Frontline staff who work in our health and care services rely on technology, to help them deliver services in new, innovative ways that put the needs of patients first.”
According to the Welsh organisation, Office 365 supports mobile working across various devices like phones, laptops, and tablets, which creates scope for collaboration without having to travel and the potential for new methods to triage and consultations by means of video conferencing and integrated media.
The enterprise deal with Microsoft includes an upgrade to the Windows 10 E5 operating system in order to further strengthen cyber resilience of the Welsh health service.
Windows 10 E5 is said to be packed with the latest security features like Advanced Threat Protection that give protection to systems against cyber threats.
The new agreement with Microsoft will be for three years with the roll out of the new Office 365 service to begin from next month. The previous enterprise agreement signed between NHS Wales and Microsoft expires on 30 June 2019.
Earlier this month, NHS Wales said that it plans to replace paper with a digital system at critical care units across Wales with an aim to make critical care information digital.