Today’s post was written by Stuart Geller, vice president of information services at MJHS Health System (MJHS).
Since “The Four Brooklyn Ladies” founded the MJHS Health System (MJHS) in 1907, we have grown into one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in greater New York. One of my challenges is to ensure that the values of a nearly 110-year-old healthcare provider are reflected in the 21st-century technology we use. With Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based business tools, our employees work productively in today’s digital world, while preserving the innovative, culturally sensitive healthcare services that are part of our history.
Before we settled on Exchange in the cloud, we used another product as our on-premises messaging and collaboration platform. This system had significant email reliability issues and storage limitations. We needed cloud-based business productivity tools that aligned themselves with the highly-regulated healthcare industry, where we are required to meet HIPAA standards. We evaluated G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) but chose Office 365. First, Microsoft signed a Business Associate Agreement, something that Google was unwilling to do at the time. And we were more than satisfied that Office 365 met our strict standards around security and compliance, in everything from email retention to archiving and eDiscovery. We also use Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection that bolsters our defense against malware and phishing emails. It’s great to see Microsoft offerings evolve to keep pace with swift changes in the threat landscape.
At the enterprise level, it’s important to use technology that works in the language of the industry. Our employees are familiar with Microsoft offerings, and the ease of transition to the new business tools was a great incentive for us. Not only does Office 365 ensure that we will always be on the latest version, but the interoperability of the different components of the suite is efficient and effortless, improving productivity.
We pride ourselves on delivering innovative, sensitive patient care in the home. Our mobile health workers carry Windows-based devices and now they can use Office 365 to access the information they need to do their work, without returning to the office. With Office 365, mobile access to all our technology resources is easier than ever, which means more time interacting face-to-face with our clients.
We are seeing increased interest in video conferencing across MJHS with Skype for Business Online, especially for board meetings and presentations. We are piloting the PSTN conferencing capabilities, and we are excited to make the most of the newest functionality, particularly Dynamic Conference Codes, which eliminates overlapping conference calls and protects the privacy of each meeting. By eliminating existing superfluous conferencing solutions, we expect to reduce our costs in this area by 80 percent.
And by consolidating other third-party providers, for mobile device connectivity, archiving and eDiscovery capabilities, we have further simplified our administration and significantly reduced our overall costs. With Office 365, these types of services come standard, and once again allow us to acquire great functionality with a reduction in costs.
The Four Brooklyn Ladies could never have imagined how much healthcare would change in the past century. However, it’s great to know that with IT tools like Office 365 we can ensure that their core values of cultural sensitivity, service and compassion are still at the forefront of our service to the community.