In March, Microsoft announced that its collaboration platform, Teams, would be made freely available to all NHS workers. This was in direct response to the Coronavirus outbreak and to help organisations deal with the many challenges that came with the virus. Over the proceeding months, we have read story after story of the successful move to Microsoft Teams and how it has become a fabric of how many healthcare organisations now work:
“I think we will see a broader use of tools such as e-triage along with citizens use of technology and remote care,”
Sarah Wilkinson has said. Sarah is Chief Executive of NHS Digital and believes that “most people will not want to go back” to the old ways of paper-based processes and systems:
“I think we’ll stick to this new way of using technology,”.
The demand for tech services has increased dramatically to help support remote working. This demand has seen the uptake of Microsoft Teams by 800%. The tool helping communication and collaboration between colleagues within organisations around the UK. According to NHS Digital 132,000 healthcare professionals are using the tool to send instant messages or use audio or video calls.
Chris Parsons, who runs NHS mail at NHS Digital, said:
“The growth in usage over the last eight weeks has been staggering and shows the appetite for digital solutions to the problems the front line has been facing.”
Microsoft Teams allows users to send instant messages, make internal calls, share, edit and collaborate on files and documents in one central, secure location. The ability to do this from anywhere on mobile or desktop has meant that healthcare professionals have been able to work at home and conduct many meetings like normal across the platform.
Within patient safety this can be a huge benefit as members of an investigation team can report and communicate while working together, from afar, to deliver results. With the ability to share documents and information across Teams, colleagues no longer require sending information back and forth between emails, or in some cases paper.
This collaboration is only increased when we start to see the real time collaboration aspects of the platform. Notifications and tagging of individuals keep members up to date and allows for instant collaboration while working. This is a welcome change from the current manual process of communicating on joint investigations with team members. Now with the issue of not being able to meet face-to-face in many instances, Microsoft Teams has filled the gap.
Teams tackles each one of the problems we are seeing with the emergence of Covid with its array of features and the complete integration with Dynamics 365 and Eva. This allows patient safety teams to share and communicate information on investigations in a secure and available way.
Having demonstrated Eva and the integration to Microsoft Teams to a number of organisations we have been pleased by the reaction of many people at the ease of use it offers. The functionality is accessible and intuitive and allows users to easily work within teams and applications. Microsoft have a huge product-set and complete integration between all tools is one of the main reasons behind the choice to build Eva on trusted Microsoft technology.
The commitment to support healthcare organisations by Microsoft has been welcomed and at Eva we believe that our close partnership with Microsoft can only reiterate our hope that as an organisation our technology can help the burden that many organisations are facing. We believe that by utilising not only the Eva application but also Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365, organisations can move to a complete cloud-based model of work. Whereby colleagues can communicate and work from home, on differing devices securely and efficiently.
Microsoft’s goal within healthcare is to “empower people and organizations to address the complex challenges facing the healthcare industry today”. This is achieved through collaboration with partners and customers so that technology can help fill the gap with many current issues. With the uptake of Teams, we hope that organisations across the UK will reap the benefits of the application. We also hope that the technology is here to stay.
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