Transforming care team collaboration and patient communication

27 June 2013 | Sumit Virmani, Director, Health for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector

Last week, I blogged about how the new Microsoft Office for Health works the way health professionals do in terms of personalized, synced experiences across devices and enterprise social media. Today, in part two of my series on the new Office for Health, I’m sharing some exciting developments in how Microsoft Lync streamlines communication and collaboration in a big way.

Streamlined care team communication and collaboration

Microsoft Lync helps address one of the most significant needs we hear about from our customers. They are desperate for better ways for care teams to communicate. Too much time is lost when team members play phone tag and try to track down approvals or get a consultation.

Lync is designed to meet the needs of mobile and geographically dispersed care team members. It allows them to communicate with robust security anywhere they have network connectivity using a variety of systems and devices. From one easy-to-use client, they can initiate voice and video calls, online meetings, presence, and instant messaging (IM). They can escalate communications from IM to voice to video to sharing their desktop with a single click or tap.

Health professionals can use Lync from within SharePoint, and Lync can also be embedded into line-of-business applications such as an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. For example, if a nurse is updating a patient’s information in an EMR system and needs information from a physician who has seen that patient in the past, the nurse can initiate an IM or a voice/video chat with the physician from within the EMR. This contact happens with a click or tap. For a more collaborative session, the nurse can easily invite others to join by dragging and dropping contacts into the conversation. What’s more, when the conversation is over, it’s automatically archived as part of the EMR record. 

You can learn more about how unified communications (UC) can benefit health organizations in this Microsoft-sponsored International Data Corporation (IDC) whitepaper, which includes a case study on how Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) has improved care team collaboration with Lync.

Improved patient access and education

Lync also addresses another pressing need for health organizations:  finding better ways to reach out to patients and citizens.

Lync has always offered many ways for health professionals to communicate with their patients and citizens for remote consultations, virtual office visits, education, follow-ups between appointments, and more. Now, with Lync 2013, health professionals can call, use presence, and instant-message any of the over 280 million people on Skype—and video capabilities between Lync and Skype users are coming soon. It provides the reach of Skype with the controls, manageability, and enterprise-grade features of Lync. This unleashes tremendous potential in the way that health professionals can engage with the public. 

Next week, in part three of this series, I’ll blog about how the new Office for Health provides cloud flexibility and compliance, IT control, and real results for health organizations big and small.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the new Office for Health, visit the Microsoft Office for Health website.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at health@microsoft.com.

Sumit Virmani
Director, Health for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Sumit Virmani | Director, Health for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector

Sumit Virmani, director in Health for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector, is responsible for strategy and marketing of collaboration technologies in the health industry globally. Read more