The new Microsoft Office for health streamlines care team collaboration and patient communication

17 April 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 in team members playing phone tag and trying to track down approvals or get a consultation.

Lync is designed to meet the needs of mobile and geographically dispersed care team members and 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.

In addition, health professionals can use Lync from within Sharepoint—you can see how this works in the new Office in Health demo . Lync can also be embedded into line-of-business (LOB) 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, from within the EMR, she can initiate an IM or a voice or video chat with the physician with a click or tap. For a more collaborative session, she 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, which is their desire for 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-up before, after and in between appointments, and more. Now with Lync 2013, health professionals can call, use presence and IM with 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, you can start here or check out the demo .

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