Using Virtual Rounding enables providers to stay healthy and ensures they can continue to provide a high standard of care during the COVID-19 crisis.
As a Microsoft Teams Technical Specialist on healthcare, this week has shown me some of the real challenges facing some of the top healthcare clients in the US and around the world. From the very real challenges of optimizing telework, to finding ways to better optimize online diagnosis software, I was grateful to be comfortable at home, while our Healthcare workers are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. In talking to my healthcare customer, I was humbled and astounded by the very real challenge of supply shortages that are plaguing our nation and how providers are putting themselves at risk.
Currently in the US and many countries around the world, COVID-19 has been putting our providers at risk with issues such:
Note: This solution is a sample and may be used with Microsoft Teams for dissemination of reference information only. This solution is not intended or made available for use as a medical device, clinical support, diagnostic tool, or other technology intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or other conditions, and no license or right is granted by Microsoft to use this solution for such purposes. This solution is not designed or intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or judgement and should not be used as such. Customer bears the sole risk and responsibility for any use. Microsoft does not warrant that the solution or any materials provided in connection therewith will be sufficient for any medical purposes or meet the health or medical requirements of any person.
How Virtual Rounding may help
Hospital and emergency room providers make dozens, and often hundreds of “rounds” per day. These quick check-ins on patients are intended to provide a status check on how the patient is doing and ensure that the patient’s concerns are addressed. While rounding is an essential practice to ensure patients are being monitored by multiple types of providers, they represent a huge drain on PPE, because for each visit, from each provider, a new mask, and new set of gloves must be used. But…what if patients could still have frequent check-ins with all necessary providers, while not draining the hospital of PPE, and perhaps even exposing providers to less risk of exposure to COVID-19? Allowing for Virtual Rounding as an option may help reduce risk and drain on PPE.
Virtual Rounding relies on an easy concept. Most rounds will be conducted virtually, through a Microsoft Teams meeting between the provider and the patient.
Here’s how it looks to the patient:
Features on the device and the Microsoft Teams application are locked down to ensure no company information is available to the patient, and that the patient cannot accidentally share PHI.
Here’s how it looks to the provider:
Interface can be customized to your needs or branding.
Providers are working under the assumption they could contract COVID-19. They want to help as many patients as possible before this happens. However, if we can disrupt the cycle of providers having heavy exposure to patients with active COVID-19 cases, especially in situations where they don’t have proper PPE, providers may be able to visit more patients.
How does it work?
How you can roll this out in your environment
Want to get started with this in your environment? The sample code and documentation can be found here. As always, we suggest you test scenarios out like this in a non-production environment and work with a certified Microsoft partner to build out an enterprise scale solution.
Providers must have access to Microsoft Teams to use this, and each room account will need a Microsoft 365 F3, E1 or higher license (free 6-month E1 Trial licensing is available during this time). Please see the documentation for more information and/or contact your Microsoft Account Executive.
What if the patient needs in-person care, such a temperature check, or blood test?
Microsoft Teams is not a substitute for these things, however, it may be used as a triage to determine if additional in-person testing is necessary. It also may limit the frequency of daily in-person check-ins by moving them to a virtual platform.
How can we ensure this solution is secure?
Microsoft Teams is a natively secure application; however, we are suggesting putting it in front of a patient instead of an employee. Microsoft Teams policies and Conditional Access policies should be implemented to ensure a secure patient experience. Please see the documentation for more details.
Is this HIPAA compliant?
Please see this link to learn how Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams offer compliance with HIPAA. Additionally, this solution is designed to prevent the patient from entering any PHI into the device to ensure full patient privacy.
Microsoft Health & Life Sciences Contributors:
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