MELBOURNE – 4 May, 2020 – Melbourne based healthcare provider Austin Health has dramatically accelerated its digital transformation, taking less than two weeks to deploy Microsoft Teams to support communications and collaboration among 8,500 personnel allowing them to change the way they work and interact with no compromise of patient care.
At the heart of the solution is Teams Navigator, a smart governance app developed by Microsoft partner FiveP which ensures connection with no compromise of compliance. This means that Austin Health’s hospital personnel can use Teams to tackle even sensitive matters such as patient care.
Teams allows clinical teams and executives to connect rapidly regardless of where they are – in a hospital, in consulting rooms or working from home. Usage is surging – just three weeks into the deployment Teams was host to 550 meetings, 1,000 phone calls and 16,000 chats in one day.
Hospital executives are running operational meetings through Teams, training in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being conducted through Teams, and just a week after deployment doctors felt comfortable enough to use Teams to run virtual ward rounds. , While Austin Hospital had set up a specialist COVID-19 isolation ward, patients in isolation still need support from other care teams who might for example, be attending to a patient who is being treated for a broken wrist but who has also tested positive for COVID-19 and so is in the COVID ward. Teams allows the orthopaedic and physiotherapy teams to talk to the patient and check on her progress without needing to enter the isolation ward. Enabling this “social distancing” in the hospital protects the health of the hospital staff and other patients.
According to Alan Pritchard, Austin Health’s Director of EMR and ICT Services this represents a major change in the way that hospital personnel can connect and collaborate.
When COVID-19 struck, the organisation was well advanced with its digital transformation preparations, its Office 365 and Teams roll out plans and was investing in new and emerging technologies by creating a centre for health data analytics.
Working with FiveP as well as two other partners, Qtec Systems and Utilitise IT, Austin Health’s IT department was able to deploy Teams and Teams Navigator to 8,500 people in under two weeks, improving collaboration and communication across the health service.
According to Pritchard; “We activated 8,500 people in a couple of weeks and we’ve got more than 4,000 people actively engaged in Teams right now. On our biggest usage day three weeks into our roll out we hosted 550 meetings in one day, and about 1,000 telephone calls and 16,000 chats.
“Those chats are secure and filed away in our tenant. All of the people using Teams can chat or phone any of the others, and they don’t need to know their mobile phone number or their desk phone or where they are – they just push the button and connect. Those two things sound really simple, but if you go back to what communication in a large complex hospital was like previously that is a massive enabler, especially in a highly dynamic situation such as the one we’re in right now.”
David Dennis, managing director of FiveP Australia said; “In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a six-month Microsoft Teams roll-out project was accelerated to on-board 8,500 staff in under two weeks. Governance of the platform was the crucial element for being able to rapidly provide the hospital staff with a tool to communicate, innovate and develop new ways to provide patient care in an ever-changing situation.”
The ability to hold secure virtual meetings while maintaining physical separation is particularly important for Austin Health’s multi-disciplinary teams. During a multi-disciplinary meeting 15 – 20 doctors and nurses from across a variety of specialities will meet in a room to discuss complex patients, but that can’t happen with the new COVID isolation practices. So within three weeks, working with Qtec Systems, Austin Health installed Microsoft Teams-ready devices in 14 rooms which allow people to share specialist medical content such as imaging, x-rays or pathology slides during a virtual meeting, allowing the participants to discuss patient treatment in real time. It no longer matters where the clinician is, they can be part of a Teams meeting, see all the relevant data and share their opinions immediately.
A similar approach is allowing executives to share reports, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations and collaborate effectively even when working from home with security and version control assured through Teams. More than 100 separate clinical and executive teams have been set up with Teams Navigator ensuring appropriate governance.
Microsoft Public Sector Director, Mark Leigh said; “It is humbling to see the work that our healthcare professionals are undertaking and the unstinting care that they are providing to people who are ill with the coronavirus.
“We are only too pleased to be able to work with our partners to expedite the deployment of robust, secure solutions such as this, using Teams to allow people to communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently – but also to work remotely when possible to keep themselves and their families safe.”
According to Austin Health’s Alan Pritchard; “The value is immense across the whole organisation in so many different ways, and I can honestly say they love it.”
About Austin Health
Austin Health is a Melbourne-based tertiary and quaternary health service and the largest Victorian provider of training for specialist physicians and surgeons. In the last financial year, it completed 114,940 inpatient admissions, 87,556 emergency attendances, and 28,099 surgical procedures. Austin Health’s researchers undertook 294 clinical trials.
Specialises in planning, deploying, adoption and change management of Microsoft Teams, Dynamics and Office 365 solutions. Based in Melbourne and Sydney the business was founded in 2013 and has worked with a broad sweep of clients including GenesisCare and T2 Tea.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
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