The pandemic has caused a massive upheaval for frontline workers—those individuals in your organization with people-facing jobs. And nowhere has that upheaval been felt more closely and profoundly than in the healthcare industry.
The always-present risks of working in healthcare have been exacerbated by longer hours, highly stressful conditions, extraordinary patient-care expectations, and severe labor and supply shortages.
At the same time, many frontline workers in healthcare have had to adapt to remote work, whether that has meant telehealth for certain patients and functions or a shift to remote processes for patient care, patient visits, booking, billing, patient monitoring, at-home care and much more.
As challenging as it has been, it could have been a lot worse: Imagine if the technology to enable video, secure remote mobile connectivity, virtual collaboration and integration with electronic health record (EHR) systems had not been available?
Frontline workers in healthcare are in a new phase. Many of the learnings of the past two years are now being put into regular practice. Hybrid work and hybrid care represent a new reality, with a significant impact on the day-to-day life of frontline workers.
For example, frontline medical professionals and administrators can better coordinate patient care across departments and organizations by using artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to access actionable data from EHR systems and other sources. Access to complete patient profiles—from first contact through treatment, discharge and at-home care—helps frontline workers save time, accelerate treatment, improve outcomes and create a more cohesive patient journey.
These changes are just the tip of the iceberg for patient-facing healthcare workers. For most of these workers, a typical day is far different from that pre-pandemic. Their reliance on advances in digital technology is not only greater than it had been before, but these new tools are enabling them to be more productive and collaborative, less stressed and better attuned to the needs of their patients.
In this new world of hybrid work for healthcare, innovation in technology has been transformative. In particular, solutions from Microsoft have been an important factor in improving the day-to-day life for frontline healthcare workers while, at the same time, improving the quality of care and overall experience for patients and their families. A few examples:
- From clinical huddling to virtual visits with patients, Microsoft Teams has become an integral part of how Luke’s University Health Network delivers patient care through its frontline healthcare workforce. Doctors use devices equipped with Teams to add calling capabilities to their clinical messaging application. For patient checkups, doctors use Teams to connect with patients in their rooms without the need for travel to and from facilities or costly solutions installed in individual rooms. Microsoft Bookings in Teams allows doctors to schedule checkups with patients and meet via Teams meetings on their mobile devices, saving valuable time and helping to ensure that patients still enjoy exceptional care.
- Surfacing data and tools through Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is empowering the day-to-day experience for clinicians and administrators across the healthcare ecosystem by improving their visibility into the patient journey and access to workplace resources. Frontline workers can make faster, data-driven decisions in areas such as patient trends, staff and scheduling gaps, supply management and the provision of self-care tools. The problem of burnout is alleviated when frontline workers can automatically document patient encounters at the point of care. Collaboration tools in Dynamics 365, Microsoft Viva and other Microsoft solutions securely connect people, data and processes to build unified patient profiles, enable care coordination and facilitate better decisions by frontline workers—whether they are on site or working remotely.
- Physicians and other clinicians at Peter’s Healthcare System use a variety of Microsoft solutions, including Microsoft Surface devices, to make virtual rounds and consult with patients without being on site. This has been particularly valuable for patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where physicians have direct camera access to children in the unit and can access monitor tracing and history in real time. Administrators and other patient-facing workers are having more efficient and less time-consuming interactions with patients through a streamlining effort that leverages a variety of Microsoft solutions, such as Office 365, Teams and SharePoint. This includes unifying email on a single platform, managing mobile devices with Microsoft Intune and consolidating data and HIPAA-required email archiving.
- Communication and collaboration tools that connect frontline workers with healthcare management are enabling healthcare facilities to foster a culture of transparency, engagement and cohesion. For example, healthcare organizations can use Microsoft Viva to query employees and gather anonymous feedback. This is the kind of low-effort, high-impact outreach that facilitates deeper and more personal sharing, yielding insights into frontline workers’ well-being that can be used to improve the employee experience.
Taking the Next Step
For frontline workers in healthcare, hybrid work is redefining many of their day-to-day activities—including where they work, how they work, and which tools and technologies they use to collaborate with colleagues and address the needs of patients. For many of these workers and their patients, solutions from Microsoft are providing a path to a better, more productive and more rewarding experience, enabling more comprehensive, holistic, data-driven care.
For more information on how to empower frontline workers at your healthcare organization, please visit Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.