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Getting the most from Microsoft 365 for your NHS Trust

By 13th October 2021October 9th, 2023No Comments
Using Microsoft 365 for your NHS trust

As Attend Anywhere contracts come to an end across the NHS, we look to the future with Microsoft Teams

Since the NHS bought Microsoft 365 Teams licences last year, we’ve witnessed numerous Trusts, departments, and teams start using the platform. They’re taking the chance to enhance virtual care, expedite processes, link data from different clinical areas, and eliminate overreliance on third party IT.

While there are many success stories, we’ve found adoption of new ways of working using apps like Teams for video consultations for example, to be slower than initially expected.

With a reliable service, being able to have a consultation with patients, wherever they are, brings huge opportunities for Trusts. And with the Microsoft 365 licence, Trusts have the chance to align digital consultation solutions under Microsoft’s world-leading banner. It’s even more timely given that Attend Anywhere, an online consultation service some had started experimenting with, contracts will be ending from March 2022.

So what are the best ways to start benefitting from the Microsoft apps – like Teams – that are already available to NHS Trusts?

Moving to Microsoft Teams – it’s more than video consultations

First things first, Teams does everything Attend Anywhere does: video calls, virtual waiting areas, sound and video tests before entering a session, URL link joining from anywhere with an internet connection, in-call surveys, screen sharing, real-time polls, and SMS capabilities.      

As the Attend Anywhere contract comes to an end, it’s going to be easier for Trusts to use a platform they already have free access to with Microsoft and avoid running two digital platforms. Exploring the Microsoft capability means avoiding the additional cost and service headaches of running two systems.

When you adopt Microsoft Teams across your Trust, you give colleagues the ability to work and collaborate in a smart, safe and effective way. It frees people to work from home or on site with equal efficacy by providing secure and reliable access to the files and systems they need. So what else does Teams offer?

Microsoft 365 logo

Full integration with the rest of Microsoft 365 – meaning you can get work done all in one system

Padlock representing safety with Microsoft Teams

Safely and easily share and collaborate on records with multiple people from different parts of your Trust

Staying connected with Microsoft Teams

Mobile app – stay connected on the go

Microsoft Teams logo with a crown resembling the more powerful impact it can have on NHS organisations

Reduce the number of third-party programmes like Attend Anywhere, Zoom, GoToWebinar with the cost, licensing and maintenance headaches that can go with them

Power Automate for Microsoft Teams

Automate everyday tasks with Power Automate – for example, it reduces double keying

Reduce emails with Microsoft Teams

Reduce emails with teams and channels

Advanced chat with Microsoft Teams

Advanced chat – share images, work on documents, host video calls all in the chat thread

As well as working for Trusts, clinicians, and other NHS colleagues, using an integrated approach oriented around Teams is also good for patients. For example, bedside video calling means patients on closed wards can still speak with their loved ones – an important part of patient wellbeing. And there’s functionality with extra Microsoft tools like Microsoft’s Power Platform that can integrate with Teams and automate departmental processes, meaning less time on admin and more time directed at patients. It doesn’t matter where a clinician is. With Teams you still have the same access to information and the ability to host virtual appointments. So if you’re off site you can still feasibly hold an appointment and patients don’t need to reschedule.

With the promise of new, integrated ways of working that benefit everyone who interacts with them, how does one begin to consider unlocking the potential of Microsoft 365 and Teams? Without a deep understanding of the programme, how can clinicians and other end users unpack existing processes and reinterpret them? Or conceive of entirely new ways of working that exploit Teams, without a comprehensive digital transformation strategy?

This ambition for mainstream, digitally enabled care was set out in the NHS long term plan in 2019. The view that technology and data helps provide safe and compassionate care to patients and to more effectively communicate with NHS colleagues is made stronger with clear adoption cases. Not all Trusts have the same functionality, so some of these adoption cases might not be available to you. As such, it’s vitally important to plan what your Trust has and how it can help you.

Secure clinical communication

On laptops and phones, NHS staff have a secure tool for instant messaging, video conferencing, sharing clinical information, images, and more.

Virtual patient consultations

Patients don’t need to come to you anymore. There are differences to face to face appointments that you may need to take into consideration so that patients’ needs are met effectively. Read how Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust did it.

Virtual multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meetings

Meet with a range of professionals to make holistic care decisions regardless of where they are. Trusts like Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have saved time and money this way.

Virtual decision making and ward rounds

In closed or high-risk wards, virtual rounds can help reduce the spread of contaminants. And joining up disparate professional clinicians means joined up decision-making.

Virtual training, development and medical education

Maintaining your professional development can be done easier online. For example, the Royal Free Hospital has been using Teams to support medical education and training for staff.

Understanding the myriad Teams features is just one part of the puzzle. Translating those features into workable processes that benefit you and your patients is the next stage.

Envisioning your Trust

Helping you define what your Trust, departmental, team or individual goals are, and putting them into practice, is what The Inform Team does best. In our experience, an open discussion with people from different levels of the organisation helps you get the most from the sessions.

NHS quote

Easy to book, a senior change consultant spends two to three hours with a group of people from across your Trust. During the session, we have an open discussion around:

• Your strategy and vision
• Microsoft 365 vision
• Challenges faced when adopting technology
• Microsoft Teams demo with opportunity to ask questions to our expert
• Open discussion on how your trust can adopt Microsoft Teams to increase business benefits
• Discussion on what governance is needed to adopt the change
• Recommended next steps

As well as understanding your organisational needs, we demonstrate some NHS-specific use cases around governance and everyday Teams tasks. We’ve found Trusts, departments, clinical teams, and individuals really benefit from being able to implement a small workable solution immediately after our session.

Book your NHS envisioning session with one of our experts

Throughout the envisioning session we look forward to learning about the vision and goals you have for your Trusts, departments, and teams that will support us recommending new ways of working.

This is the point you start thinking about the myriad ways in which your Trust and colleagues can benefit from change.

The art of the possible

When introducing any new technology, new ways of working, or culture shift it’s vital to think about your people first. By and large, the tech can do what you want it to – you only need to imagine what’s possible. But if you don’t take your people along through creative and engaging communications, Trust, department, and team-specific training, policy and process review and a host of other important digital change elements, you run the risk of the project failing before it’s even started.

Through focusing less on the tech itself and more on implementing effective change, especially people-oriented change your people will be more willing to engage with the digital journey, meaning adoption rates are more likely to be higher. And with higher adoption rates your people can begin to reap the benefits of apps like Teams.

Users saved up to eight hours per week*

Over £4k savings per user across 3 years’ use*

Average time-to-decision reduced by up to 20.2%*

Over half of users said Teams helped boost inclusions and support a multigenerational workforce*

The end of Attend Anywhere contracts in March 2022 is an amazing opportunity for your Trust, your people, and your patients to benefit from Microsoft Teams.

Deliver your Trust’s future now

Time’s ticking for the end of Attend Anywhere contracts – you’ve got until March 2022! Now’s the chance to consolidate and enhance your digital platforms. Microsoft 365 is a powerful and integrated suite of applications, at the heart of which is the feature-rich collaboration platform Teams – to which you already have free access.

Book your NHS envisioning session now and find out how you can deliver your Trust's future

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