This article was updated on July 20th, 2020.
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 home.
Corona virus has renewed 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 get exposed to other sick people. Telehealth is helping in minimize exposure to the virus for the vulnerable – especially the old timers and those with underlying medical issues.
Health workers have been working on telemedicine for a year and a half now. But in wake of the pandemic, its significance has increased visibly. Initially they faced many issues related to patient’s data security and had to use multiple solutions to bring about a safe and effective workflow which was overwhelming. But once most discovered Microsoft Teams, things became much easier. Teams enables simple, secure collaboration and communication with chat, video, voice, and healthcare tools in a single hub that supports compliance with HIPAA, HITECH and more.
Teams for Healthcare
Healthcare professionals strive to provide the best possible care. Microsoft is using its technology to evolve health care. Teams is a central 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:
Virtual Visits With Patients
Teams allows health practitioners to bring together patients and clinicians with high-quality audio, video, and screen sharing in a secure meeting experience to help support their telehealth workflows.
You can find out how these virtual visits work through this demo by Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon where they discuss all the amazing features for Teams in Healthcare such as Secure Messaging, EMR interconnectivity, Shift Scheduling, Virtual Visits, and more!
Connect Instantly With Secure MessagingWith Microsoft Teams, healthcare workers can send messages, capture and share images, and relay urgent information knowing that Teams meets the enhanced security and compliance requirements for healthcare organizations. This exchange of messages 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 - Clinicians 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. They might need to share that with other clinicians but are worried about the picture getting saved on their phones. 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.
Coordinate Patient Care In One Hub
Teams furnishes a care coordination solution specific to healthcare organizations to help them provide the best patient care. The crux of the care coordination solution, the Microsoft Teams Patients app, is a first party tab app that integrates with electronic health record (EHR) systems using a Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) interface to bring valuable medical information into Microsoft Teams in context to enable clinical collaboration and communication.
Collaborate with Meetings
Doctors can conduct audio or video meetings across a range of devices with anyone inside or outside of their organization. People can easily consult with remote clinicians, like a specialist, and engage in meetings between healthcare professionals across all departments, units, and their entire network.
Simplify Administrative Workflows
Streamline workflows and shifts for clinicians and staff with Teams. It enables you to share announcements across the organization to keep everyone updated on important information. It also allows 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.
Security & Compliance
Built on the secure and compliant Microsoft 365 cloud, Teams enables HIPAA compliance and also complies with standards like Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1 and 2, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and more.
Firstline Worker integration
Microsoft Teams integrates with Firstline Worker, which can be used to coordinate shift staffing features and more. See Manage the Shifts app for your organization in Microsoft Teams.
A Complete Solution for the Healthcare Organization
As mentioned earlier, Teams is a centralized digital workspace that brings together your full care team with a line of business apps and electronic records. With everyone working together in full capacity with Teams, your healthcare team can pay more attention to urgent messages and act quickly for a patient’s need. Here’s how Microsoft Teams plays a vital role in each healthcare worker’s life.
- Physicians can connect with the people and information you need whether it’s across your care team or health system, through a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting, or while on the go.
- Nurses orchestrate resources and care across departments, digitize clinical workflows, and enable coordinated care with instant access to people and patient information.
- Administrators securely communicate with clinicians and across all hospital staff, share important announcements across the organization, and collaborate in one place.
- IT professionals ensure clinicians and staff have a secure and compliant way to communicate and collaborate with built-in manageability features like eDiscovery, audit reports, and data loss prevention.
These are just a few Microsoft Teams top practices for streamlining and improving the healthcare processes. For more information about Microsoft Teams and Office 365 for healthcare practice or a customized solution for your own practice, schedule a Cloud Strategy Call with our team today!