Using Microsoft Teams in HealthcareReading Time: 5 minutes
Microsoft Teams is used by teams from organizations across the globe. Recently, instances of use of Microsoft Teams in healthcare has seen a spike. It’s probably not a coincidence. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is possibly the business industry out there right now.
Before we begin, we need to give a serious shout out to our front line workers. Right now, they are the ones going into work every day, working long hours, taking care of critically ill COVID patients. They wear protective gear from head to toe, and do what they got to do, day in and day out. They also have to coordinate projects, schedules, deploy processes and communicate effectively. These aren’t small tasks on a regular day! Now add to this the fact that every department and unit is in panic mode, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Nevertheless, great things are being done in hospital systems all across the country. In today’s article we will be reporting from the frontlines. We will give you the inside scoop on how certain specialists are using Microsoft Teams in healthcare.
Microsoft Teams in Healthcare: the Perfect COVID Solution
Let’s backtrack a little. Any team needs reliable tools to function. What did we ever do before computers and cell phones? We’d rather not think about it. Indeed, new technologies develop at the speed to light to help various organizations solve their business problems. Even before the COVID outbreak, many organizations have seen the impact of implementing team collaboration software, such as Slack, Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Now, in the wake of social distancing measures, these solutions have proven more valuable than ever. They have allowed businesses to keep rolling. For some, it was almost business as usual!
Indeed, for many, working from home simply means that the dress code becomes more casual. For many teams already collaborating on Microsoft Teams of another software, working online is already the norm. Many speculate that business will not return completely back to normal, even as social distancing measures are lifted.
For the healthcare industry, this is great news. Having remove access to colleagues is very practical in a healthcare context. For instance, anyone worried about getting sick can decide to meet with their team remotely at any time. There is no pressure to be on-site. Which is a perfect segue to our next point…
Ideal For Multiple Sites
Microsoft Teams in healthcare is ideal for a hospital system that is spread across different sites. Many clinics at a hospital can be located across a larger geographic location. This makes it difficult to implement processes or solutions across multiple sites. Indeed, for hospitals that are really spread out, planning a project through Microsoft Teams can save time. It also improves coordinating capabilities. Getting a team together no longer involves booking meeting rooms to advance or coordinate projects. Everything can be done online. Documents and project schedules can also be shared through Microsoft Teams, thereby ensuring that everyone sees the same information.
A testimonial that we got from one hospital site in particular informed us that Microsoft Teams has facilitated group meetings during these really crazy pandemic times. Indeed, since the start of the pandemic, it is crucial that every person on any healthcare team monitors themselves for any COVID-like symptoms. If they suspect that they might have the virus, they have to get tested. Before getting their result, they must quarantine preventatively. Once they do get their result and they are positive, they will be quarantining for another 14 days, and potentially more. Then, if they are actually ill, whether with COVID or not, they will not be able to work. This means that they will be taking sick leave.
Luckily, some people will not have any symptoms at all, but will have to work remotely anyway. So, how do you know who is actually out sick or who is just working from home? This is a tricky questions, and many turn to leave tracking apps to help keep track of their teams’ leaves and absences.
It goes without saying that coordinating a group effort requires knowing about people’s availabilities. When booking leaves or sick days for team members that are on different sites, you might need an HR add-on to help you out. We encourage you to consider Vacation Tracker, which will soon be available for Microsoft Teams.
Ideal for Healthcare Project Management
As we’ve seen in a previous blog article, Microsoft Teams is ideal for project management.
In healthcare, projects can be extremely varied. They can range from unit to unit. For some, it could involve a huge technological overhaul. In other instances, a project can be as simple as changing the process for the use of a particular medication towards something less costly. There is a huge array of projects of different sizes going on in any healthcare institution at a given time. Some of these projects involve multiple stakeholders, while others do not. For more complex plans involving many steps and a few decision-makers, Microsoft Teams can really help.
Indeed, with the Planner app for Microsoft Teams, you can create and assign tasks, and ensure that every element of your plan is followed through. News tasks can be dragged to one of 3 stages: “Not started”, “In progress”, and “Completed”. There are interesting ways to visualize task statuses as well.
Project managers can create virtual meetings in the Teams’ “Calendar” from the side menu. Teams has a very easy to use video conferencing interface. Users can choose their audio and video settings. During a virtual meeting, it’s easy to see who has joined, to record the meeting, to send messages during the meeting and to screen-share. A great advantage of Microsoft Teams is that external guests can also be invited to the video conferencing call. So it’s well-suited for temporary workers in the healthcare sector.
Microsoft Teams in Healthcare: The Cons
As with any tool, the first steps to full implementation will be the hardest. Even in the most modern of workplaces, switching over to a new tool is hard. One hospital system insider confirmed to us that their hospital was still new to Microsoft Teams. Therefore, the groups that were using the software were still working out the different issues they were experiencing with the program. These were mainly issues related to the user’s understanding of the tool. For some, this implementation happened quickly, because they needed to transition to remote work because of the pandemic.
Therefore, implementation is not a con in itself, because there is a learning curve that exists for every new application. Moreover, it is safe to say that Microsoft Teams is actually quite intuitive and easy to use for the most part.
Microsoft Teams in Healthcare: Final Words
We’ve heard only a snippet of what it’s like to use Microsoft Teams in healthcare. To conclude, we can tell that the software is definitely helping teams move their projects and timelines along. Even in these harsh times, great work is being done remotely over Teams. It’s a proven COVID-friendly solution that is sure to stick around long after the pandemic is over.
Our only piece of advice for all Team leaders out there would be to browse through the available add-ons and resources. With the right tools and tips, you can make your use of Microsoft Teams even more effective. And how doesn’t want to save time on the job?
We hope that you are keeping busy and staying healthy. Once again, we want to salute all healthcare workers for their time and their commitment. Thank you all!