Microsoft Teams used for 90,250 NHS daily meetings

NHS Digital has published numbers on the uptake of Microsoft Teams since we reported on 18th March the platform would be made available for free for three months.

Over 15 million messages have been sent in this time, and now almost half a million messages are being sent each day.

The average number of meetings held each day has now reached 90,250, up from 13,521 in the first week the tool was made available for free for 3 months.

Now more than 132,000 healthcare professionals are using the tool to send instant messages or use audio or video calls.

Gary Hotine, Director of Health Informatics, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said “When the Trust was first dealing with the COVID-19 situation we had a huge challenge in quickly supporting the workforce that needed to work remotely as part of social distancing.”

“When NHS Digital stood up MS Teams we were able to keep staff much more connected, and even maintain Multi-Disciplinary Teams across organisations when it became impossible for our clinicians to use the room-based video conferencing facilities. Now, it’s become part of the fabric of how we work at all levels.”

Dawn Dawson, Dorset HealthCare’s Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality said “Using a digital platform has been absolutely essential in helping us to respond to the pandemic effectively. It has allowed us to run our incident management remotely and safely share information quickly and be responsive at this challenging time.”

“Importantly, it has also enabled our teams to stay connected – our staff rely on regular communication with each other, both for work purposes and for looking after each other and combating the isolation people can feel working remotely. Going digital has given us the ability to keep that vital contact going.”

Chris Parsons, who runs NHSmail at NHS Digital, said “The growth in usage over the last eight weeks has been staggering and shows the appetite for digital solutions to the problems the front line has been facing.”

“Many doctors and nurses have had to work remotely to provide effective care, especially to those patients who have been self-isolating, and technology like this can help make it possible.”

Recently the tool has also been used as a platform for other uses, at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS FT the trust introduced Microsoft Teams and Bookings for virtual visits for COVID-19 patients.

University Hospital Southampton NHS FT has utilised Microsoft Teams to scale chatbot functionality to automate many common tasks and COVID-19 results. Clinicians can create a request for a service and be alerted when ready, such as COVID-19 results or pathology results.