April 15, 2020
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Microsoft Teams For Healthcare

Telemedicine is a way to communicate better in a secure environment. Telehealth lets patients contact their doctor through their smart phones or computers. In short, your doctor is just one click away and you can get consultation just sitting on your couch at home.

Corona virus has renewed interest in telehealth. It helps patients get initial screening without having to go to the hospitals and avoid the crowded waiting rooms, where they needlessly get exposed to other sick people. Telehealth is helping to minimize exposure to the virus for the vulnerable – especially the old timers and those with underlying medical issues.

Health workers have been working on telemedicine for a year and a half now. But in wake of the pandemic, its significance has increased visibly. Initially they faced many issues related to patient’s data security and had to use multiple solutions to bring about a safe and effective workflow which was overwhelming. But once most discovered Microsoft Teams, things became much easier. Teams enable simple, secure collaboration and communication with chat, video, voice, and healthcare tools in a single hub that supports compliance with HIPAA, HITECH and more.

Teams for Healthcare

Healthcare professionals strive to provide the best possible care. Microsoft is using its technology to evolve health care. Teams is a central collaboration hub. It brings together a lot of Microsoft functions and is one of the fastest growing across several different industries.

Some of the core features of Microsoft Teams for health care workers are:

Virtual Consult with Teams

Teams allow health practitioners to bring together patients and clinicians with high-quality audio, video, and screen sharing in a secure meeting experience to help support their telehealth workflows. Initially, there was a Microsoft Teams Patients app, but it has been discontinued effective October 30, 2020, and has been replaced by the Microsoft Lists app but that hasn't stopped virtual healthcare with Teams, now, has it?

You can find out how these virtual visits work through this 50-minute demo by Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon where they discuss all the amazing features for Teams in Healthcare such as Secure Messaging, EMR interconnectivity, Shift Scheduling, Virtual Visits, and more! 

Connect Instantly with Secure Messaging

With Microsoft Teams, healthcare workers can send messages, capture, and share images, and relay urgent information knowing that Teams meets the enhanced security and compliance requirements for healthcare organizations. This exchange of messages needs to be done in a secure way following HIPAA rules. Few applications provide that feature which results in security issues at many levels. With the help of Teams, we can do that in a secure manner without compromising HIPAA. And all in one place. You don’t need an additional messaging solution for your care team.

Some of the secure messaging capabilities to help enable your compliance via Teams include:

  • Smart Camera - Clinicians often need to work with pictures related to the patient’s diagnosis. A patient might send you the picture of his varicose veins or abscess on his back. They might need to share that with other clinicians but are worried about the picture getting saved on their phones. With Teams, you can send and receive pictures without worrying about compliance. All of them are stored in M365 platform without saving them on local mobile device. Teams help you with patient’s data or pictures privacy.
  • Priority Notification - Another feature offered by Teams is urgent messages with priority notifications. You can mark a message as urgent if you want it to be sent to another clinician right away. This will send notification to other users from 2 minutes to up to 20 minutes, until that user responds back to that message. This is important as healthcare is all about getting the right information and making the right decisions at the right time.
  • Status Message - If you are busy and washed up in a surgery and can’t respond back to any query, delegate another recipient in status message. This will let the other person know that you are unavailable, and he will be directed to the right place from where he can get urgent help in your absence.
  • Federated Messaging - You can also exchange messages with other hospitals or organizations with whom you are working with. These will be encrypted and secure too.

Coordinate Patient Care in One Hub

Teams furnish a care coordination solution specific to healthcare organizations to help them provide the best patient care. The crux of the care coordination solution, the Microsoft Teams Patients app, is a first party tab app that integrates with electronic health record (EHR) systems using a Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) interface to bring valuable medical information into Microsoft Teams in context to enable clinical collaboration and communication.

Collaborate with Meetings

Doctors can conduct audio or video meetings across a range of devices with anyone inside or outside of their organization. People can easily consult with remote clinicians, like a specialist, and engage in meetings between healthcare professionals across all departments, units, and their entire network.

Simplify Administrative Workflows

Streamline workflows and shifts for clinicians and staff with Teams. It enables you to share announcements across the organization to keep everyone updated on valuable information. It also allows Scheduling flexibility. Administrators can schedule appointments and meetings with external users using simple tools in Microsoft Teams. You can set up multiple departments and clinicians using Teams. You can easily look up all the available staff in your organization and their set appointments. You can also set up various kinds of customized patient appointments and the required templates for them like intake, established care, flu and cold visit, hypertension consult or a follow-up appointment.

Security & Compliance

Built on the secure and compliant Microsoft 365 cloud, Teams enables HIPAA compliance and complies with standards like Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1 and 2, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and more.

Firstline Worker integration

Microsoft Teams integrates with Firstline Worker, which can be used to coordinate shift staffing features and more. See Manage the Shifts app for your organization in Microsoft Teams.

Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA Compliant?

Built on the secure and compliant Microsoft 365 cloud, Microsoft Teams enables HIPAA compliance. It also complies with standards like Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1 and 2, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and more. So yes, Teams is HIPAA Compliant. You can find out more about Microsoft 365's compliance with HIPAA in one of our other articles.

A Complete Solution for the Healthcare Organization

As mentioned earlier, Teams is a centralized digital workspace that brings together your full care team with a line of business apps and electronic records. With everyone working together in full capacity with Teams, your healthcare team can pay more attention to urgent messages and act quickly for a patient’s need. Here’s how Microsoft Teams plays a vital role in each healthcare worker’s life.

  • Physicians can connect with the people and information you need whether it’s across your care team or health system, through a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting, or while on the go.
  • Nurses orchestrate resources and care across departments, digitize clinical workflows, and enable coordinated care with instant access to people and patient information. Nursing programs in Columbus, Ohio, play a vital role in preparing healthcare professionals who can effectively contribute to orchestrating resources and care across departments, digitizing clinical workflows, and facilitating coordinated care with instant access to people and patient information.
  • Administrators securely communicate with clinicians and all hospital staff, share important announcements across the organization, and collaborate in one place. Masters in social work online programs empower administrators to securely communicate with clinicians and all hospital staff, fostering a collaborative environment where important announcements can be shared seamlessly across the organization.
  • IT professionals ensure clinicians and staff have a secure and compliant way to communicate and collaborate with built-in manageability features like eDiscovery, audit reports, and data loss prevention.

These are just a few Microsoft Teams top practices for streamlining and improving the healthcare processes. For more information about Microsoft Teams and Office 365 for healthcare practice or a customized solution for your own practice, schedule a Cloud Strategy Call with our team today!

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Last Updated 4 weeks ago

About the Author

Your routine healthcare physician and a technology enthusiast.

Farwah Aslam

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