Adventist Health System is enhancing healthcare delivery using Microsoft 365

Today’s post was written by Tony Qualls, director of enterprise technical services at Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

Over the years, healthcare has changed from hospital-based care to preventive and continuous care that happens throughout an individual’s life—outside of hospital walls and inside patient homes and neighborhood clinics. Consequently, Adventist Health System is in the midst of a big transformation to a more consumer-centric organization to meet the needs of patients and families at every stage of health.

Our more than 80,000 employees are embracing this new care delivery model, and as many of them are frequently on the go, they need secure, quick access to information from anywhere.

With Microsoft 365, we’re able to give them access to the information they need in a secure, compliant environment. We’ve been a longtime user of Microsoft Office 365 to deliver the latest productivity innovations to our clinical and non-clinical employees. We migrated to Microsoft 365 to gain more flexibility with our licensing for Office 365 and for the Windows 10 operating system and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).

We have 28,000 Microsoft 365 E3 licenses for our office staff and 41,000 Office 365 F1 licenses for our Firstline team members—nurses, doctors, and other employees. These individuals carry laptops and tablets with them throughout the day or access shared devices using badge-tapping technology. With Microsoft 365, we can cost-effectively license the specific applications that employees need to accomplish various tasks throughout their workdays.

For example, our clinical staff uses Skype for Business Online to improve patient flow and connect physicians with remote patients. Now, we’re taking it to the next level with Microsoft Teams—probably the fastest-growing Office 365 application we have deployed. Everything’s in one place—SharePoint Online sites, files, chat, meetings, and Microsoft Planner. It’s so easy to use, and we find that after people get invited to one Teams channel, they turn around and create channels of their own to support other projects. With Teams, we have persistent conversations, documents, and other resources about a topic in one place, which helps groups focus and move faster. In addition, it’s a highly secure environment that we trust, and we can remain completely compliant with HIPAA and other healthcare regulations.

At Adventist Health System, we strive for excellence in all that we do. Our IT employees strive to be recognized as an industry leader. Utilizing Teams is just one way we are supporting our organization’s vision to be wholistic, exceptional, connected, affordable, and viable.

Communication is crucial to the success of any organization, and Adventist Health System is no different. The quicker we can share information, updates, and plans, the faster we gain buy-in from our team members. The clinical workspace thrives on rapid communication and collaboration around patient care. This, in turn, helps foster better outcomes and patient satisfaction.

It’s exciting to see the Teams roadmap incorporating artificial intelligence capabilities by offering speech-to-text and meeting transcription services. As we gather takeaways and valuable information from meetings, I am happy that Teams allows me to focus on listening to my staff and peers while it captures and transcribes meeting notes for later review.

There’s an abundance of innovation coming from Microsoft, and we’ve taken the approach of releasing new Office 365 applications directly to employees and letting user communities provide guidance, tips, and support on Yammer channels. This has been a great adoption model that has empowered employees to put these tools to work in ways that make sense for them.

Because Microsoft matches productivity innovation with security innovation, we can confidently utilize new technologies on tens of thousands of mobile devices. We’ve standardized on Windows 10 Enterprise, chiefly for security features such as default encryption. But EMS also includes a great bundle of security tools and licensing options that have significantly decreased our licensing costs while giving us enhanced security capabilities.

From a support perspective, Microsoft Intune and mobile email with Exchange Online have been tremendous timesavers. Employees had to unenroll and re-enroll devices in a previous email security program, and our infrastructure support team was inundated with support tickets around the need to resync mobile email accounts. But with Intune, employees download the Microsoft Outlook mobile app, we apply the correct policies, and they’re off and running.

With Microsoft 365, our clinical, support, and IT staffs are all better equipped to help Adventist Health System transform its business in a secure, compliant manner to meet the needs of today’s changing healthcare landscape.

—Tony Qualls