As patients are joining sessions online, they are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 and appointment cancellations have fallen.
Prior to the pandemic, Rebekah Davies, a Speech and Language Therapist and Health Informatics Digital Clinician at Rotherham NHS FT, was using Teams in a pilot project to deliver speech therapy sessions remotely. The pilot involved 17 patients and was so successful that the sessions continued.
“When COVID-19 emerged, we had already been using Teams, so we were in a really strong position to set this up and continue helping people,” Davies said.
Her patients have reported that they feel much more comfortable taking part in speech therapy sessions from home, without the need to travel to and enter a clinical environment.
The trust is also using Teams for internal communication and remote patient care in other fields. This is helping staff stay connected while working remotely and vulnerable patients are able to access care at home.
“I’ve set up a Teams group for staff who are conducting video consultations, so they can ask for help and get peer support,” Davies said.
“There are services working at opposite ends of the hospital or on different sites, collaborating and sharing what’s worked for them. It’s a brilliant way of bringing people together.
“Staff realise that Teams is quick and effective, and they’re getting the same outcomes but reducing time and pressure.”
Patients with respiratory issues would usually attend classes at NHS sites for physiotherapy and breathing exercises. However, they are at particular risk from COVID-19. Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust now runs sessions via Teams. Additionally, pregnant women who are highly vulnerable are able to receive valuable antenatal support through Teams and multiple professionals are getting together to share their knowledge and decide on the best care to provide to different cancer patients.
Laura Robinson, Health & Life Sciences lead at Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft believes technology can help healthcare organisations improve the patient experience while keeping data secure and supporting employees. Watching medical professionals like Rebekah become passionate about this technology and how it can support the work of Rotherham NHS Trust is truly inspiring.”