The UK’s national health service (NHS) is using Microsoft Teams to help speed up the testing process of patients hospitalised with Covid-19. Staff at University Hospital Southampton can receive real-time test results for patients on their phones through a bot, enabling them to more quickly manage the surge in hospital admissions.
According to a Microsoft news story, healthcare employees would previously have checked a desktop computer every few hours to see if the test results had come in. The move to phone-based updates has cut the time to discover if someone has the disease from hours to minutes. As a result, patients found not to have it can then be moved out of isolation units and onto a ward, freeing up space for new hospital arrivals.
“We can now give doctors and nurses real-time data,” said Ashwin Pinto, a neurologist at the hospital. “I can get Covid-19 results, which come up on my phone instantly as soon as they are released by the lab. We can know where that patient is, so we can make sure they go to the right care environment and that staff are safe as well. It’s been transformational.”<
The bot that has facilitated this was created by Microsoft partner Medxnote for use in Teams. Microsoft made the collaboration platform available to all NHS staff for free in March 2020 and healthcare workers have since been using it communicate and share information. University Hospital Southampton also has a notification channel in Teams to alert everyone if a staff member has contracted coronavirus.
“It is crucial that NHS staff can communicate and collaborate quickly and easily, especially in times of crisis,” said Laura Robinson, health and life sciences lead at Microsoft UK. “No matter where they are in a hospital, doctors and nurses need to send and receive information in order to offer the best care to patients. Microsoft is proud to be helping healthcare workers on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic.”