Although Glen Cove Hospital was the last of the Northwell Health hospitals to integrate email in its messaging system, Bissoondaye Ragoonanan, registered nurse and manager of clinical transformation at Glen Cove, said the hospital was now leading the way in communications as one of the first hospitals in the nation to roll out Microsoft Teams in February. Teams, a messaging application, allows hospital staff to message each other over a secure network, helping doctors, nurses and health technicians stay in contact to provide proper care for their patients.
“The world of health care moves at a fast pace and using a secure texting platform such as Microsoft Teams allows our staff to more quickly and safely convey information about their patients to each other,” Ragoonanan said. “This software can potentially speed up patient care and ensure that there are fewer unnecessary wait times.”
Although Microsoft initially rolled out Teams as a tool for corporate communications, the app has found success in the medical field. In her blog about developing Teams, Emma Williams, corporate vice president of modern workplace verticals, said that making the app a central hub for chats, meetings, calls, files and other tools, medical teams could update each other throughout the day in real-time. Divyang Joshi, medical director and doctor in internal medicine at Advocate Aurora Health, which launched the initial pilot program for Teams in 2018, said the convenience of Teams was ideal for hospitals.
“We have team members located across the network, so we need centralized communication to see what’s happening at different points in the care continuum,” Joshi wrote in his testimonial for the success of the Teams program. “By providing our staff with tools to enhance collaboration and coordinate care, we’ve improved the patient experience and ultimately helped reduce the cost of care.”
Glen Cove Hospital piloted the program on its telemetry, brain injury unit and coronary care unit. Ragoonanan said the hospital’s staff received a week of training in the new app, which could be operated on their phones or desktops. She added that the program was intuitive and is being taught to all new nurses at the hospital.
“We are proud to be among the first in the nation to use this technology in a clinical setting,” said John Bosco, chief information officer at Northwell Health. “Glen Cove Hospital was well-suited to launch secure texting. [It’s] part of the health system’s commitment to implementing new and innovative ways to provide the best patient care possible.”
Teams has also been implemented at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park for clinical purposes, and it will be used at two Northwell Health facilities in Manhasset within the next two months. About 8,300 Northwell Health staff currently use Microsoft Teams. The system will continue to rollout across Northwell Health facilities through 2019 and 2020.