Secondary Care

Microsoft Teams and MedXNote bot automates common tasks for UHS

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has automated many tasks across its hospitals following the integration of its MedXNote platform with Microsoft Teams.

The automation technology from MedXNote has now been integrated into Microsoft Teams to enable clinicians to ask questions using a chatbot to automate requests and alerts and to subscribe to channels for updates. This means, for example, a clinician can now create a request for a service (medical examiner) without needing to know the person providing it.

The trust is now using the functionality for:

  • Service referral
  • Results such as COVID-19 pushed into a channel, with separate channels allowing the trust to monitor positives
  • All HbA1C results to be grouped and sent to the diabetes team
  • Pathology results to be monitored over a user defined time period, for example going over a period even when the patient might have left the hospital

Adrian Byrne, CIO, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said to HTN “When we initially looked at doing something to address the messaging problem, we realised a number of key things. Firstly, a lot of bleeping/paging goes on at the moment purely because hospital records systems are inadequate. These needs fixing another way, for example by having task management rather than bleeping someone to check a line/drain/dressing etc. Second, that the requirement needs to be richer than just messaging, and for instance have the ability to carry payload such as a hospital laboratory report. In short it was going to be far more than just replacing WhatsApp which is nothing more than a distraction and something of a sideshow.”

“We started to work with Irish start-up MedXNote. We hooked this into our Integration Engine so that clinicians could ask questions in a chat bot style. So, for example, “push this patient’s ultrasound report to me as soon as it is ready”. This would arrive in a feed so that it could be acted on immediately. We had some success with this but needed a better actual messaging system. MedXNote started to work with ourselves and Microsoft to put their “bot” technology underneath Microsoft Teams, in anticipation that we would eventually move into a MS Office 365 environment.”

“The recent initiative to roll out MS Teams has now given us a platform to do this at scale. One of the problems with WhatsApp and systems like it are that they are bound to a phone [device]. Teams allows users to log in from any device, but still requires you to have a unique user ID to sit within a team. One of the things the bots allow us to do is to route messages to appropriate Teams Channels. We can therefore allow referrers to send to “a service” such as the Medical Examiner, and to have subscribers to the Teams Channel where those things will land. We can also form a structured message from that and push it to systems.”

Bryne said “Communications are a vital part of improvement, but the plethora of messaging systems that are out there fundamentally fail to address the real problems. Most are trying to solve a historic problem i.e. simple messaging, which really should be obsolete.”

“The dream here is that a user can do much of what they will need to do without even leaving the Teams messaging app, in much the same way you can use Facebook Messenger to order yourself a pizza delivery.”