Healthcare worker using tablet device

Microsoft Teams: Enabling Virtual Rounding for Healthcare Providers

Mike Hanks
April 22, 2020

All around the world, healthcare providers are doing whatever they can to serve their communities in combatting the COVID-19 global pandemic. Through the CARES act, the government has made significant resources available to healthcare providers. Simultaneously, Microsoft Teams for Healthcare enables healthcare providers to virtually make their rounds as numbers continue to increase.

Healthcare Providers Face PPE Shortage in Combatting COVID-19

As the results of the COVID crisis continue to unfold, healthcare organizations are faced with new problems. A global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is making it more and more difficult for healthcare providers to give their patients the care they need. Worse yet, hospitals are currently dealing with a massive influx of patients, and as the virus spreads that number is anticipated to keep growing.

Healthcare professionals that treat patients with the virus are at risk due to heavy exposure to patients with the virus.  However, if providers were to break the cycle of heavy exposure, they could then care for more patients at the cost of less precious resources.

When it comes to breaking that cycle, Microsoft can help. With a firm commitment to assisting companies affected by the COVID-19 crisis, Microsoft Teams for Healthcare offers a solution that can protect our healthcare providers while allowing them to properly see their patients through to health.

Virtual Rounding Through Microsoft Teams for Healthcare 

Every day, doctors and nurses make dozens or sometimes hundreds of visits, or “rounds,” to their patients. These visits are meant to be quick and simple check-ins and are an essential part of any hospital's operations. With the COVID crisis unfolding and patients flooding into hospitals, rounding is more vital than ever to help healthcare providers save lives.

Microsoft Teams for Healthcare is undoubtedly seen as the go-to platform for Hospitals to improve clinical collaboration in a way that also increases security and compliance posture. Virtual Rounding uses Teams’ Meetings function to let providers check in on patients at any time with just the push of a button.

 

This is how it works for patients:

  • Each hospital/emergency room is set-up with a laptop or tablet loaded with the Microsoft Teams app.
  • Before a new patient enters the room, the healthcare provider will press Join Meeting.
  • When the patient enters the room, they will see a meeting screen with only them inside. This screen will notify them when a provider requests entry into the “meeting”.
  • When the provider drops in, the provider and the patient can engage one-on-one with secure audio and video. When they are done, the session will end, and the screen will go back to only the patient.
  • Additional providers may drop in throughout the patient’s time in the room, and the patient will be notified as they request the conversation. If the meeting is ended on the patient side, providers can still ring the device to bring the patient back into the meeting.
  • (Note: Other non-essential features in Teams will be disabled on the patient’s end.)

This is how it works for providers:

  • Providers are shown a list of rooms in Microsoft Teams, and can select a room to make their rounding visit.
  • Providers click Join Meeting. If the patient room is not already in the meeting, providers can click "Ask to Join" in the participants list to ring the patient room.
  • Providers meet with the patient and then leave the meeting once complete.
  • Providers can then select another patient to check in on, communicate with other providers on the floor through Microsoft Teams, or follow-up with patients in-person if needed.

With Microsoft Teams set up in such a way, providers reduce exposure to the virus and keep vital protective equipment saved for more crucial moments. The solution will also help provide electronic records and better optimize "online diagnosis software." In addition to that, Virtual Rounding can help better manage the ever-increasing load of patients brought on by COVID-19.

To aid healthcare organizations in effectively fighting COVID-19, the U.S. Government has made funds available to allow hospitals to invest in solutions like Microsoft Teams for Healthcare.

Government Aid to Healthcare Providers through the CARES 

The CARES Act is a $2 trillion government plan that includes $100 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. This averages out to about $108,000 per hospital bed in the United States. Available to all non-profit and for-profit healthcare organizations, this bill will provide much needed funding to those helping treat COVID patients.

With this new shot in the arm, healthcare organizations have the freedom to invest in a collaboration solution to allow for virtual rounding. It’s for this reason that Microsoft has assembled its Gold Partners to help roll out a potentially lifesaving solution.

Why Hospitals Should Work With a Microsoft Partner

When deploying a Virtual Rounding solution, Microsoft advises working with one of its partners to build out an enterprise-scale solution.

Continuant is both a Microsoft Gold Partner and a Direct Cloud Solution Provider (CSP). Not only are we experts in voice and video conferencing, we’ve been providing our services to healthcare organizations for more than a decade. We currently serve more than 800 Healthcare clients and understand your business needs more than anyone else.

Continuant Microsoft Direct Cloud Solution Provider Badge Continuant Microsoft Gold Partner Logo

If you are a Healthcare provider and are interested in speaking with a Microsoft Gold Partner to answer questions, talk about your specific use case, or to assist you in rapidly deploying a Microsoft Teams for Healthcare solution, please call us today at +1 (800) 652-9920 or submit a contact form and we will contact you within one hour.

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