3 big ways Microsoft Teams is changing healthcare

  • Posted on May 20, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
microsoft virtual visits

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Tom Hoglund.

If you’ve been following the healthcare technology space, Microsoft’s latest big cloud announcement should come as no surprise. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare promises to give patients and organizations the tools to create better experiences and outcomes. The timing couldn’t be more significant. 

“More than ever, being connected is critical to create an individualized patient experience,” the company announced

Avanade knows a thing or two about using Microsoft to bring patients, doctors and people together in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Digital Health team has worked to provide effective, reliable and safer ways for our healthcare clients, their employees and patients to connect during the crisis. With Microsoft’s announcement, we thought it would be a good time to expand on a few ways technologies such as Teams are creating the future of healthcare, today.

The doctor is in… your Teams meeting: 
Medicine is one of the most change-resistant industries. Which is why it took a global health crisis to expedite the evolution away from the age-old practices of rounding and visits. While there was certainly a push toward making these in-person practices more digital in recent years, social distancing and the need to prevent contagion made it an urgent necessity. 

A prime example is Virtual Rounding. Rounding is critical to patient care, as well as giving medical students and future-clinicians a way to learn on the job. Legacy approaches often saw dozens of clinicians, nurses and students flocking room to room to room to check on patients. Obviously, a change was needed to limit exposure as we helped our clients grapple with COVID-19. By using Teams and a “Workstation on Wheels,” Avanade has been one of the first to market with a proven Virtual Rounding solution. With it, care providers limit the number of people in the room to a safe and manageable minimum, while others can observe, chat and interact using the Teams video call and on-screen patient records.

See how Virtual Rounding works:

As part of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare announcement, Microsoft called out new software and tools to enable virtual patient visits with physicians. Similar to rounding, the solution provides a secure, private and engaging way for hospitals and care centers to schedule calls and meet up with patients, without anyone having to leave the Wifi-powered comforts of their home.

Visiting hours are now open… from anywhere
While providing a secure virtual connection with patients is essential, family connections are just as vital for those undergoing care. With COVID-19 making it difficult and sometimes impossible for outside visitors to see loved-ones, we are using Microsoft Teams to help our clients close the gap. As part of the new cloud offering, hospitals can now leverage Teams and web-connected devices to enable virtual visiting between patients and their loved ones. The solution will enhance patient experiences by providing them video and audio devices they can use to safely connect to family members.

Relief to the frontlines
Microsoft Teams is also playing a central role in a broad portfolio of new Clinical Continuity solutions, all designed to help healthcare providers spend less time on logistics and more where it counts: patients. 

The logistical use cases powered by Teams are providing much needed relief to heroic frontline workers, who are facing long, seemingly endless demands of their time. A few highlights here include:
  • Discharge Planning: Streamlining and simplifying patient transitions and discharge processes (see it in action).
  • Huddle Boards: Using smart devices and Teams to virtually connect staff on frequent huddles, maintaining communication while reducing travel needs at the same time (watch a demo).
  • Staffing and Scheduling Shifts: Giving staff more intuitive and user-friendly tools to adjust and adapt to hectic shift and scheduling changes. Avanade created a solution that helped a major hospital system free up time for frontline caregivers. 

The future of health technology
While the global health crisis has been especially trying on those in the frontlines and patients, hospitals have been quick to adapt. With the adoption of Microsoft Teams and a few innovative approaches, organizations have been able to foster connections – and maximize care – at a time when physical distancing was a necessity. 

As Microsoft proceeds with its cloud roadmap, we invite you to learn more about Avanade’s Digital Health expertise and offerings to help you on your way to healthcare innovation. 

Let’s get the conversation started, contact us.

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