A new study by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has found that the roll-out of Microsoft Teams to around 1.3 million NHS users saved over 2.9 million hours of NHS time, according to NHS Digital.
The programme’s ability to facilitate video conferencing and virtual meetings, alongside other communications for NHS workers, led to the freeing up of millions of hours from April to September 2021, the report highlights.
Since the software was rolled-out nationally by NHS Digital in March 2021, the organisation says that, in the space of just six months, it has replaced 14.5 million phone calls, and hosted more than 32 million virtual meetings.
As another example, NHS Digital states that across one week in particular, nearly 6 million messages were sent through the software, with more than 1.3 million meetings also held during that time.
Findings from the The Digital Workplace team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust included that, “on average a staff member would save one minute by using the software instead of a phone” and “five minutes every time they replaced an in-person meeting with a virtual one.”
Associate Director of ICT Operations at Imperial College NHS Trust, Pushpak Nayak, said: “When joining a Teams meeting there’s no need to spend time checking if a meeting room is available and no need to leave your work area to get to the meeting room. In many cases the time saving would be much greater than five minutes, especially if the meeting is being held at another hospital site.
“With Teams calls, time is saved by knowing someone is available to take your call and not having to find their number.”
Head of Collaboration Services for NHS Digital, Chris Parsons, added: “This has been a gamechanger that enables health and care colleagues to connect, communicate and collaborate effortlessly. Having over 1.6 million colleagues on the same secure communications platform is enabling massive improvements in how the whole system can work more effectively together.”
In other NHS Digital news, the body is also part of the team behind the creation of the cancer quality of life data dashboard, which was released earlier this week, and provides and compares results and scores from national surveys of cancer patients.
Meanwhile, tech giant Microsoft has also been in the headlines recently, due to its new collaboration with the digital health provider Babylon. The partnership will see the two combines combine expertise and look for new opportunities in the fields of AI, machine learning and cloud technologies.