Key Talking Points Around Digital Transformation in Health

How can we help to empower health in a mobile and cloud first world? This is a question many health care providers are asking themselves, and was the headline topic at our inaugural digital Healthcare Innovation day at the Microsoft UK HQ in Reading last month.

With ever increasing pressures to transform service delivery and modernise processes while cutting costs, digital solutions offered in the Cloud are helping health providers explore new ways to deliver care.

In a day packed full of insight, discussion and inspiration, our Digital Healthcare Innovation event looked closely at the intelligent cloud and how technology can aid the reinventing of productivity, helping healthcare organisations along their digital journey. Alongside a panel of Microsoft experts – including Michael Wignall, Microsoft’s National Technology Officer – participants looked at what it means to transform healthcare with personalised computing, crafting a positive user experience for health and wellbeing.

Reflecting the themes on the day, we take a look at some of the things those on the front lines highlighted as key concerns.


A number of practitioners raised security as a key issue, with one attendee remarking, “We still have concerns with the transition of the data, especially when it’s stored off site.”

Data is paramount to the success of any healthcare organisation. Timely access to ever changing patient data from anywhere can drastically improve efficiency amongst staff and result in increased quality of patient care.

And as with any form of personal data, the security of such sensitive information is of great importance. With the cloud, we ensure data is backed up securely in the event where disaster recovery is needed, ensuring that data is always readily available. This is a certainly a huge task, and the transformation to an all-digital infrastructure is something that can be challenging. So what can be done to address this?

Our intelligent cloud platform has been built with the end user in mind, as we aim to make the cloud work for you. Designed with a reliable and scalable infrastructure, all data is stored safely in our state of the art data centres that don’t sacrifice security or compliance.

We’ve seen incredible growth in digital adoption and innovation, especially in EMEA, none of which would have been possible without the anchoring from the intelligent cloud. The cloud is currently helping to improve health solutions from records, to insight and engagement.

Culture Shift

The boundaries between digital and physical are blurring. New types of experiences are becoming possible with digital healthcare platforms. Many attendees acknowledged there needed to be accelerated rates of digital transformation, from the traditional paper based-approach.

With any shift in technology there are obstacles that can slow down or inhibit the transition to this digital first approach. But by moving towards a more mobile and digital way of working, healthcare providers can streamline much of their work.

For instance, Office 365 has played a vital role in easing the digital transformation for NHS organisations such as South London and Maudsley (SLAM). SLAM has migrated around 5,000 staff to Office 365 and replaced 2,000 old PC’s with state of the art devices, allowing the Trust’s clinicians to be mobile and to spend more time in the field with patients without sacrificing connectivity to their email and other office functions.

Likewise, as the use of Microsoft Azure has helped to drive collaboration across organisations such as East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust by making processes simpler and more efficient.

Utilising the security, reliability and scalability of Microsoft Azure, the Trust developed a solution alongside Microsoft partner Careflow to resolve the issue of delays in communication, and the failure of important information being transmitted between the care team for renal patients.

More than a simple alert system, users are also informed who has seen the alert, when they saw it, what they have done about it, and any other comments. This context allows for decisions to be made a lot sooner and for treatment to progress at the fastest pace it can.

Communication and End User Experience

Around £35 billion of public money is currently spent on staffing the NHS, and ensuring this workforce feels empowered is a significant factor in delivering high quality healthcare services.

Interactions with patients are not as streamlined as they could be, presenting challenges that often result in avoidable expenditure. Over 8,000 people currently in hospital beds are well enough to be discharged, resulting in over £900 million spent annually. Better use of available data and a digitally empowered workforce can help to remedy this, and in a compliant, secure way.

Skype for Business provides a user friendly, easy to support and cost effective solution that has been welcomed by Trust staff and patients alike. Through Skype for Business, consultants are now able to assess stroke patients much faster and can undertake assessments even when they’re off-site or outside normal working hours.

These innovations provide the ability to manage and monitor care remotely. This has significant benefits for both health organisations and the patient. Remotely accessing care not only reduces the amount of time an individual takes to be seen, but has the positive side-effect of patients and carers increasing their knowledge and confidence to manage their condition.

To learn more about what was covered on the day, download the presentation slides