When disaster strikes, it’s often the disadvantaged who feel the most impact. Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy are unfortunate examples of this fact as the wrath of these storms caused unparalleled chaos. In times like these, it is imperative that hospitals, clinics, and community health centers keep their doors open and clinical record systems up and running as many are called upon by state and local governments to act as responders in emergency and natural disaster situations.

This is especially true for Community Healthcare Network (CHN), a group of nonprofit, community health centers that provide medical, dental and social services to more than 75,000 individuals in neighborhoods throughout New York. When Hurricane Sandy hit, CHN lost its on-premises email communications, wreaking havoc on the organization’s ability to use email to coordinate with health teams and manage healthcare operations, including emergency procedures. After a couple of painful days without email, Jason Pomaski, Assistant Vice President of Technology at Community Healthcare Network, developed a plan to prevent the issue from happening again.

Pomaski turned to the power of the cloud and activated a free trial of Microsoft Office 365, helping CHN restore its email capabilities, resume its operations, and turn its focus back onto serving patients.

This trial-by-fire during the Sandy disaster gave CHN a unique perspective to many of the benefits that come from moving communications to the cloud. The advantages were so impressive that today at HIMSS, CHN announced it is taking the next step with a full-scale adoption of Office 365, not just for email but for presence and instant messaging, audio and web conferencing through Microsoft Lync Online, and document sharing through Microsoft OneDrive for Business.

With these solutions in hand, CHN’s network of clinicians and staff can remain connected and provide team-based, patient-centered care anywhere and under any circumstances. In addition, because of Microsoft’s unwavering commitment to maintaining the highest security and privacy standards, CHN can rest assured that its data is secure and that its cloud solution is compliant with HIPAA privacy and security regulations.

To learn more about CHN’s story and its move to Office 365, I suggest reading a recent Office blog post featuring commentary from CHN’s Jason Pomaski.