Microsoft Teams For Healthcare

By Farwah Aslam | Microsoft 365

Apr 15

MICROSOFT TEAMS FOR HEALTHCARE

         Telemedicine is a way to communicate better in a secure environment. Telehealth lets patients get in contact with their doctor through their smart phones or computers. In short, your doctor is just one click away and you can get consultation just sitting on your couch at your home.

         The corona virus has renewed the interest in telehealth. It helps patients get initial screening without having to go to the hospitals and avoid the crowded waiting rooms, where they needlessly be exposed to other sick people. Telehealth is helping in minimizing exposure to the COVID 19 for the most vulnerable especially the elders and people with underlying medical issues.

         I have been working on telemedicine for a year and a half now. But in recent days of corona virus, its significance has increased too many folds. We are working out of Wisconsin and have set up our virtual clinics at three different locations. We are able to reach large number of patients and connect them to their physicians. Initially we faced many issues related to patient’s data security. We had to use multiple solutions to bring about a safe and effective workflow which was overwhelming. But once we shifted our telehealth business to Microsoft Teams, things became much easier. Let me walk you through some of the key capabilities in Microsoft teams for healthcare.

Teams for Telehealth

Microsoft is using its technology to evolve health care and enable personalized healthcare. Teams is Microsoft collaboration hub. It brings together a lot of Microsoft functions and is one of the fastest growing across a number of different industries.

Some of the core features of Microsoft Teams for health care workers are:

Chat/Messaging:

Clinicians often need to chat in regards to information related to the patient. And it needs to be done in a secure way following HIPAA rules. Not many applications provide that feature which results into security issues at many levels. With the help of Teams we can do that in a secure manner without compromising HIPAA. And also all at one place. You don’t need an additional messaging solution for your care team.

Some of the secure messaging capabilities to help enable your compliance via Teams include:

Smart camera:

You often need to work with pictures related to patient’s diagnosis. A patient might send you the picture of his varicose veins or abscess on his back. You might need to share that with other clinicians. But you are worried about the picture getting saved on your phone. With Teams, you can send and receive pictures without worrying about compliance. All of them are stored in M365 platform without saving them on local mobile device. Teams help you with patient’s data or pictures privacy. 

Priority notification:

Another feature offered by Teams is urgent messages with priority notifications. You can mark a message as urgent if you want it to be sent to another clinician right away. This will sent notification to other users from 2 minutes to up to 20 minutes, until that user responds back to that message.  This is important as healthcare is all about the right information and right decisions at the right time.

Status message:

If you are busy and washed up in a surgery and can’t respond back to any query, delegate another recipient in status message. This will let the other person know that you are unavailable and he will be directed to the right place from where he can get the urgent help in your absence.

Federated messaging:

You can also exchange messages with other hospitals or organisations with whom you are working with. These will be encrypted and secure too.

Meetings:

Microsoft Teams is a complete meeting solution. Whether you want to arrange a clinician’s meeting or a multi-disciplinary conference or you want to provide consultation to your patient online, Teams has it all covered. It has audio, video to sharing functionality. These meetings can be;

Clinician to clinician:

Teams provide a rich video experience among clinicians using their smartphones or laptops.

Clinician to patient:

Patient can join the meeting via WebRTC in web browser or Teams Mobile App with no account needed.

Calling:

Clinicians now don’t need to go to a separate application to call a patient or a user inside or outside of the organization. Teams has an in built calling feature through which you can make all the necessary calls whether to set an appointment or call for an urgent consultation.

Collaborate:

Everyone in your care team can work and collaborate efficiently through Teams. Files, information, excel sheets, reports everything cab be shared directly through Teams in a conversation. Patient hand-offs can be streamlined, and more informed diagnosis and treatment decisions can be made by accessing electronic health records.

Effective Communication:

Clinicians can communicate with patients and other clinicians through encrypted messaging, voice and video calling at the required time without any hindrance. The can communicate proactively without worrying about compliance aspects. Teams allows HIPAA compliance and is compliant with standards like HITRUST, SOC 1, SOC 2, GDPR, and more.

Scheduling flexibility:

Administrators can schedule appointment and meeting with external users using simple tools in Microsoft Teams. You can set up multiple departments and clinicians using Teams. You can easily look up for all the available staff in your organisation and their set appointments. You can also set up various kinds of customized patient appointments and the required templates for them like intake, established care, flue and cold visit, hypertension consult or a follow-up appointment.

         All these features helped our telehealth business to flourish and they can help you too. Book a meeting with Communication Square today, and find the best possible customized solution for your telehealth business.

About the Author

Farwah Aslam: Your routine healthcare physician and a technology enthusiast.

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