Today in New York City, Steve Ballmer announced the availability of Office 365, the company’s newest cloud service.
Office 365 is now available in 40 markets, and it brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date cloud service, at a predictable monthly subscription. More than 200,000 organizations have tested the service in just a few months, and early adopters are already boosting productivity and estimating cost savings up to 50%.
Due to the requirements of HIPAA, the Health & Life Sciences industry requires privacy, security, and confidentiality of patient data (“protected health information”). With this in mind, Microsoft will be among the first in industry to offer a Business Associate Agreements (BAA) as an operationalized part of its solution to address requirements associated with hosting protected health information. Customers can obtain more information on BAA availability from their designated Microsoft account manager.
One of Office 365’s early adopters is Tampa General Hospital, which serves more than 4 million people in Florida. They’ll take advantage of Office 365’s core productivity solutions – including Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync – via the cloud, so that their physicians, nurses and support staff can work wherever they are via whatever PC, browser, or device they're using in a way that works for their business. And, Microsoft manages all of the deployment, maintenance and ongoing support so they can concentrate on their patients.
In a recent blog post, Tampa General Technology Architect Shane Ochocny had this to say about their selection of Office 365: “This may not be a medical breakthrough, but it's significant, because communication and collaboration is as the heart of everything we do. Our doctors, nurses, medical and administrative staff rely on technology to do great work every day, and we're bringing the tools we use up a notch. In the process, we'll improve our overall productivity, and in doing so, lower our overall IT costs.”
In last month’s Healthcare Informatics, early Office 365 user Dallas Neurosurgical & Spine Associates talks about their planned use of the service, particularly Lync, as the foundation for their new telemedicine program. They are preparing to offer consultations to patients in rural areas around Dallas-Fort Worth, with ambitions to extend this capability to other parts of the globe. Some of the surgeons within the practice have patients living as far away as Saudi Arabia and Peru. By using Lync, these surgeons aim to reduce required travel, improve the coordination of care plans, and share their surgeons’ expertise with patients outside of the Dallas area.
As Steve Ballmer predicted this morning, we believe more than half of small and midsize businesses worldwide will be using Office 365 in 10 years. More than twenty market-leading service providers on four continents will also be offering Office 365 with their services for small and midsize businesses, making it even easier for companies to take advantage of our familiar communication and collaboration applications from anywhere in the world.
Any health or life sciences business who is interested in trying Office 365 can do so for free for 30 days at office365.com, and to learn more about how health and life sciences are leveraging Office 365, visit us here.