A great example of social technology enabling connected care

19 September 2013 | Peter Jones, Industry Market Development Manager - Canada


Connecting and updating the various health professionals involved in a patient’s care, not to mention the patient’s family members, has long been a challenge in healthcare. So it’s exciting to see how health organizations are taking advantage of social technology to address this challenge. Wise Elephant Family Health Team, in Brampton, Ontario, is a great example.

Wise Elephant has been using Yammer, a private social networking platform, to build out solutions that can connect a patient’s entire care team and support system. Yammer works much the same as Facebook but with the high level of security needed for professional and organizational use. One of the ways Wise Elephant is using the Yammer platform is to create a vehicle for a patient’s caregivers—which may include a primary care doctor, specialists, nurses, physical therapists, and community and home caregivers—to easily communicate and collaborate. The care network can also include authorized family members.

Using this social technology tool, everyone can stay up to date on the patient’s care plan and progress. Care team members can use the Yammer-based network to share patient updates such as test results and changes in medications. And patients can post self-assessments. For example, a patient may share that he or she is feeling unwell one day and everyone on the patient’s care network becomes aware that this person may need some extra help that day or week. It’s a great tool for getting everyone on the same page with an individual’s treatment and condition, which can really help improve outcomes.

Patient-centered care networks are just one of the latest developments in how Wise Elephant is using the Yammer platform to enable better, more connected care. Wise Elephant initially began using it to connect the 10 doctors working at its three clinics as well as the pharmacists, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, and community health workers who deliver care to its patients. After experiencing how beneficial the social technology was for their work, the physicians at Wise Elephant started a not-for-profit organization called the Health Quality Innovation Collaborative (HQIC) to open the system up to other family health teams and organizations. HQIC continues to develop solutions based on the Yammer platform as well as Microsoft SharePoint Server to provide easy, efficient ways for health professionals to connect with each other and their patients.

You can read more about the many innovative ways Wise Elephant and HQIC are taking advantage of Yammer to improve care team collaboration and patient communication in an article titled,  "Healthcare providers use Yammer to stay connected," in the June/July issue of Canadian Healthcare Technology.

And if you’ll be attending Canada’s Health Informatics Executive Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, you can hear Dr. Sanjeev Goel, a family physician at Wise Elephant who spearheaded HQIC, discuss how using Yammer has benefited his organization and his practice at his presentation on September 27.

I know Dr. Goel is incredibly excited about how Yammer is changing how healthcare is delivered for the better, as am I. Social technologies with the right security features in place enable health professionals to communicate and collaborate in ways that simply weren’t possible before. And, ultimately, better connected care leads to better outcomes for patients. It’s a great example of how technology is having a real impact in health.

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Peter Jones
Industry Market Development Manager - Canada

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Peter Jones | Industry Market Development Manager - Canada

Peter Jones joined Microsoft Canada in October 1999. He brings more than 24 years of experience in the information technology industry with a focus on strategic alliances and key solution integrators. Read more