Shelly's Take on… new MS Teams Firstline workers features for Healthcare
Published Jan 21 2019 05:00 AM 6,233 Views

The recent announcements by Emma Williams, Corp Vise President of Modern Workplace Verticals, around new Firstline Worker features in MS Teams, is exciting for many organization and industries across the country, but I wanted to call out a few features that are revolutionary for Health Providers. To see the full original post, please read here.

MS Teams is expanding to add new capabilities to empower the Firstline Workforce and in hospitals that means Clinicians. There are 3 primary new features being added to the already powerful tool. These features includes: a customizable mobile experience , a Graph API for the Shifts scheduling tool, and the new Praise feature that makes it easy for managers and employees to recognize their coworkers right within Teams.

But how are these going to impact Clinical workers… I am glad you asked!

Clinical workers means, fast pass, high intensity work, long hours all on the go! In the setting of a hospital these users are never stationary which means accessing a computer is difficult but they still need the same collaboration tools of a traditional desk worker. Because in the past powerful collaboration tools were bound by a laptop or desktop computer, clinicians had to find other means to get their job done. And we all know that patents don’t wait for technology, they need solutions now, so clinicians do what they do best, they find a way to make it work. They have resorted to consumer based chat apps that are not secure or personal texting. This is great for a quick solution to their problem, but does not provide a long term secure and compliant solution for an enterprise. Now MS Teams has new customizable mobile experience that provides these users with the tools they need to communicate and collaborate efficiently on the go.

This new mobile experience has 3 features that were available starting Jan 9th 2019.

  1. Location Sharing & Smart Camera
  2. Ability to record and share audio messages
  3. IT Admin controls for MS Teams mobile

Location Sharing & Smart Camera Ability to record and share audio messages IT Admin controls for MS Teams mobile I can easily see how these features would reduce time spent composing a message from clinician to clinician by automatically sharing their location, quickly being able to snap a picture or record and send an audio message. Now these users don’t have to worry about finding a solution for quick messages, they already have one built into MS Teams. Add this on to the upcoming Secure Messaging features and we really have a HIPAA compliant Secure Messaging Platform. (to read more about Secure Messaging in MS Teams see one of my previous blogs here).

The final feature in this category is really a way for IT to help manage how MS Teams is set up for each profile of user in their organization. Let's say, for example Physicians need to chat, attend meetings and see their on call shifts, but all the other features in Teams are not as important to them. On the other hand a nurse needs chat, meeting and teams. IT administrators can now provide role-based access to the primary Teams features each role needs. This can be used for any role in an organization it is not just intended for Firstline workers, with the new feature Firstline Worker Configuration Policy Template, IT can create templates for any role in their organization.

Employees can further customize their experience by choosing which modules they need most by selecting and editing what they see in their navigation bar.
Customizable mobile Teams experience and new mobile features: Keep all conversations in one place (left), share location and record audio messages (middle), and customize the navigation menu (right).

The 2nd Feature is around opening up our Graph API for MS Teams "Shifts" to integrate with legacy scheduling software. We know that it is imperative that clinicians need to know there schedules but more importantly other people need to know who they are working with and who is off. Doctors also need to know their on-call schedules as well as nurses need to know who is on call. This is why all hospitals have some sort of scheduling solution. These range from excel spreadsheets, physical white boards or the more sophisticated users have a software solution like Kronos or AMION.

With great pleasure I am pleased to see MS Teams can now integrate with these scheduling software solutions via the Graph API for Shifts. We know all solutions are not created equal but what MS Teams can offer is a unified end user experience regardless of back end solutions. With Shifts now available for all MS Teams customers, this new API makes integration between Shifts and enterprise scheduling systems possible, enabling seamless access to workforce managements systems for managers and employees right from Teams. The Graph API for Shifts will be in public preview this quarter.
With Shifts, managers can easily plan shift schedules, and team members can review schedules and make schedule change requests in real time.

Last but defiantly not least, there is a new Praise feature in MS Teams. Nurses play a key role in the heartbeat of a hospital but they have high burnout and always seem like they are the last people to get thanked for their hard work. Now with the new Praise Tool organizations can start taking steps to engage and recognize employees to help reduce turnover and increase clinician satisfaction. This feature will be rolling out this quarter which gives managers and employees a simple way to recognize their coworkers right in the Teams app where the whole team can see it.
Firstline-workers-Teams Praise.png
With Praise, share badges to celebrate every success, communicate your appreciation with your team members, and foster greater comradery.

I hope you enjoyed this post, please be sure to follow the Microsoft Health and Life Science Blog for more great content. I will also be at HIMSS in a few weeks, if you will be there I would love to connect with you personally, come stop by our booth or reach out before and we can set up a time to meet. In the meantime if you have any questions please email so we can discuss how MS Teams can add value to your organization.

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‎Jul 12 2019 01:54 PM
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