Many of today’s public sector strategies are focused on driving innovation and helping communities to modernise and flourish.
Government leaders are prioritising the use of technology to simplify administrative processes and improve urban life for residents. Healthcare organisations are looking at new ways to use technology to address current challenges, while also seeking innovative solutions that give patients the experiences that they want and need.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, governments were challenged to meet increased expectations and demand for public services from residents and businesses. According to a 2021 study titled The transformation imperative: Government by The Economist Intelligence Unit, government bodies have actually found it easier to secure budgets for digital transformation since the start of the pandemic. In fact, improving operational efficiency had driven digital transformation at a higher rate in government than in any other industry in the past 12 months, at the time of the study’s publication.
One way that governments are working to optimise the services they deliver is by addressing internal processes first. Take, for example, the City of Everett in Washington, USA. It transformed processes and increased employee productivity by deploying a combination of Microsoft solutions, including Microsoft Azure for storage needs, Microsoft Teams to streamline communication across agencies, and Power BI to support the adoption of analytics for decision-making.
According to Steven Hellyer, a former IT director for the city of Everett, the city wasn’t equipped for the modern era. “We weren’t that agile as an organisation because we weren’t taking advantage of laptops and smartphones, e-business services, or cloud computing,” he said.
By implementing Microsoft technologies, the city was able to “drive greater agility within departments and place the interests of the city’s residents at the core of the work”, according to Ngozi Nwoko, director of global industry product marketing for government at Microsoft.
“[This is] a great example for how state and local governments can utilise digital tools to better serve their communities,” she said.
The same strategies are key for healthcare providers, which are increasingly exploring new ways to promote and ensure physical and mental well-being for their patients. This was demonstrated at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, which took place in May 2022. The event was dedicated to healthcare digitisation and technology solutions, with the aim of helping organisations to build stronger and more resilient health systems following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Microsoft played a key role in the event, showcasing the next wave of innovation for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and highlighting how it continues to help organisations deliver personalised patient experiences, expand virtual health capabilities and transform data interoperability.
“Trends that are changing the industry have emerged, including the growing need to create more personalised experiences for patients, the opportunity to implement virtual health solutions to unlock new avenues of care for providers, and the challenge of reducing administrative burden so we can help lower clinician burnout,” said Dr David Rhew, global chief medical officer at Microsoft.
An example of how Microsoft’s efforts in healthcare are delivering real results is at Hospital Jihlava in the Czech Republic. It adopted Microsoft 365 and Azure services, enabling it to save thousands of hours of medical personnel’s time, reduce emergency room waiting time and empower healthcare workers to save more lives.
For example, using a simple solution built on Power Apps, the hospital has processed and stored over 9,125 files, saving medical staff 700 hours in accessing and updating medical documentation. “Emergency services can quickly send electrocardiogram recordings from the ambulance using SharePoint Online,” said David Zažímal, deputy director for informatics and cybersecurity at Hospital Jihlava. “It's linked to a text message – a telephone beeps and the staff at the intensive care unit know a new patient is coming, which allows them to react quickly.
“I thought digital transformation was just a buzzword. But now, I understand that it means we can build on our foundations to simplify work for our healthcare professionals as well as effectively care for patients.”
It is stories like this that are driving Microsoft’s work in the area. “Our work to innovate, reshape and reimagine healthcare will only continue to grow,” said Rhew. “Microsoft is committed to innovating new and cutting-edge solutions that help make healthcare more personal, affordable, effective and accessible while continuing to improve the patient and clinician experience.”
Ultimately though, the answer to addressing service delivery challenges across the public sector is in the cloud, according to Jeremy M. Goldberg, worldwide director of critical infrastructure at Microsoft.
“With cyberattacks, demands from citizens and regulatory requirements growing in complexity, there is increasing pressure to deliver government services more effectively,” he said. “In response to such pressure, countries across the globe are investing trillions of dollars to rebuild physical and digital infrastructure post-Covid-19 and invest in their economic futures.”
Azure is a key part of this, particularly because it provides government agencies with data insights to drive effective decision-making, improve day-to-day operations, engage and empower citizens, and protect communities.
“Cloud helps the public sector meet challenges while enabling governments to create future-ready solutions that also integrate seamlessly with those that have already been implemented,” said Goldberg.
A variety of Microsoft partners also contributed to this feature: Automated Intelligence, AVEVA, Jabra, Melissa, IEG4, Schneider Electric and Nintex. Read about how they are using – or helping their customers to use – Microsoft technologies to modernise civic services and empower citizens.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.