Image copyright Microsoft
A Guide to Leveraging Microsoft Teams for Healthcare
Just over two years ago, Microsoft globally launched its Microsoft Teams platform. It’s now used by 200,000 businesses in 181 markets and 39 languages. The company recently announced a free version for businesses worldwide comprised of fewer than 300 people. This version, which is available in 40 languages, offers the following:
- Unlimited chat messages and search.
- Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, group and full team meetups.
- A total of 10GB of team file storage plus an additional 2GB per person for personal storage.
- Integrated real-time content creation with Office Online, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
- Unlimited application integrations with more than 140 business apps, including Adobe, Evernote and Trello.
- The ability to securely communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization.
- An introduction to Microsoft Teams in Microsoft 365, including all the features of the free version in addition to unlimited storage, desktop versions of the Office apps and enterprise security and compliance.
We have been impressed with the fact that Microsoft has packed Microsoft Teams with a host of features and capabilities that are going to be really useful in healthcare. For example, it has templates that let you create a team through pre-defined settings, pre-installed applications and channels. For example, there is a Ward template can be used to facilitate patient management, and a Hospital template that is designed for communication between multiple hospital departments.
Additional features include:
Priority Notifications – This component allows healthcare professionals to receive an alert every two minutes for up to 20 minutes on their smartphone or desktop computer when they get an urgent message. We believe this will be useful during an emergency or code event.
Message Delegation – This feature lets clinical staff members temporarily assign their messages to another team member e.g. while a physician is in the OR, all messages are routed to a resident doctor or charge nurse.
EHR Integration – Microsoft Teams uses the FHIR API to access patient records and present clinical data to clinical workers. Right now, this is a one-way flow of information from the EMR to Teams, but we suspect this is not a limitation of Teams but rather a hangover from a legacy EMR paradigm where vendors thrive on the lack of interoperability.
Shift Management – Microsoft has re-branded StaffHub as Shifts and has integrated the service directly into Microsoft Teams. This integrates with external time-keeping systems, such as Kronos, making it easy to create a weekly schedule for care workers, assign shifts to individuals and then allow those individuals to swap shift with, or without, management approval.
Secure Messaging – Microsoft has also committed to bringing secure messaging to Microsoft Teams, which means that care workers can communicate securely using a HIPAA compliant platform. it will soon have more top-line certifications than other specialty secure communications vendors
Taken together this is a powerful set of features that will enable many use-cases using the Microsoft Teams app on mobile, tablets and desktops.
Mobile Mentor has been using Microsoft Teams internally for a while and we are excited about all these developments and their applicability in healthcare. If you are looking for a partner to configure Microsoft Teams for your business, contact Mobile Mentor and we can get you started!