Limitless potential for cross-cultural collaboration and education

24 April 2014 | Dr. William P. Magee, Jr., Co-Founder and CEO of Operation Smile

Since 1982, Operation Smile has provided over 200,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities.

And we want to do so much more. As I wrote previously, the technology that Microsoft has donated to Operation Smile is helping us scale our resources so we can expand our global impact even further. Microsoft Office 365 cloud services, for example, are empowering our staff and volunteers to communicate and collaborate better from anywhere.

Right now, we have about 5,500 medical volunteers and over 100 employees around the world, plus, approximately 130 people at our headquarters in Virginia, in the U.S.

We’ll conduct about 180 surgical missions worldwide this year.

Planning international surgical missions across all these people and places requires tremendous coordination. So having a great, real-time communication and collaboration system simplifies our work incredibly — and that’s what Office 365 provides.

We can use our email in the cloud anytime, anywhere. And we use Microsoft OneDrive for the distribution of files and information across our foundations and the people we work with globally. It’s an easy-to-use tool for document workflow. Updates are all in one place so everyone is working off the latest information.

Our team members also love how quick and easy it is to call, instant message, or video another team member using Microsoft Lync. What’s more, the fact that people around the world can have face-to-face contact using Lync video conferences makes a big difference in establishing trust and better connections among our teams.

For example, the other day we had a video team meeting that included 10 people in Hanoi, Vietnam, and 10 people at our Virginia headquarters to orchestrate a surgical mission in a very personal way. Everyone was jumping into the picture waving and saying “Hello.” That sense that we’re all one in this together even though we’re 12 time zones apart was phenomenal.

We’re experiencing the same benefits using Lync for our regional conferences. Now everyone — even the folks who can’t fly into our headquarters — can meet face-to-face.

We’re also incredibly excited about using Lync video conferences in the future to help with medical training and education. We envision transmitting and recording cleft surgeries with our surgeons explaining the techniques they’re using. That way other surgeons all over the world can learn the protocols for our global standard of care from these video conferences. Today, we train doctors in person in the regions we visit. But with Lync, we could reach so many more. And in turn, there would be more trained surgeons to heal children’s smiles.

We also plan to use Lync to video conference with schoolrooms from the communities we visit. What a great way for students to learn about other cultures and be inspired to think about how they can contribute to people and places in need.

In the next decade, our ability to communicate as an organization will grow by leaps and bounds—it’s almost limitless what we’ll be able to do together with Microsoft. We couldn’t be more excited about how Microsoft technology is helping us interact and collaborate with people all over the world and the powerful potential it holds for improving care quality and cultural education.

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Dr. William P. Magee, Jr.
Co-Founder and CEO of Operation Smile

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Dr. William P. Magee, Jr. | Co-Founder and CEO of Operation Smile

William P. Magee Jr., D.D.S., M.D., is a leading plastic and craniofacial surgeon who founded Operation Smile in 1982 with his wife, Kathleen S. Magee, and serves as the organization's Chief Executive Officer. Read more