Jul 01 2019

How Windows 10 Can Improve Healthcare Collaboration, Communication

With greater speed and efficiency, Windows 10 enhances productivity.

For healthcare organizations, security is a key motivator for making the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After Microsoft ends technical support and security updates for Windows 7 on Jan. 14, 2020, outdated operating systems will be vulnerable to “hacks, malware, viruses and other potential future security flaws,” notes Business News Daily.

Windows 10 comes with improved security measures: tools to thwart ransomware, such as a whitelist capability that designates which apps can access and change files; an anti-malware program that scans, quarantines and removes malware; and a sophisticated, cloud-based service for managing security threats across Windows 10 computers. 

But switching to Windows 10 brings other benefits as well, including greater speed and efficiency, tools that support better communication and collaboration, and features that enhance productivity in general — all keys to effective healthcare delivery

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Learn why device security is top of mind for providers during a Windows 10 migration.

Windows 10 Makes for Smarter, More Engaging Collaboration

Windows 10 includes several tools for smarter browsing and collaboration, as BizTech has reported: “The Microsoft Edge browser is an integral application of Windows 10. For virtual collaboration, users can annotate web pages with drawings or notes using a stylus pen on the touch screen of a Microsoft Surface tablet, or using a keyboard, and share the notes.” 

The browser is tightly integrated with the Cortana digital assistant, which helps users quickly schedule in-person or virtual meetings and send reminders to participants. 

Remote abilities further improve efficiency: Windows 10 machines can initiate remote desktop connections, with a “master” machine controlling “slave” machines and their resources, notes PCWorld

Meanwhile, healthcare users have a need for speed. Windows 10 “flies” on any hardware and works even faster on the latest devices, which can boot in just a few seconds and handle even the most demanding workloads, according to ITPro. “That means teams can start their work faster and spend more time being productive and less time waiting for their system to chug into action,” the article notes. 

Microsoft’s Teams platform, along with its Whiteboard app, “creates a set of collaboration tools that will push productivity forward for many users,” notes ITPro Today. Updates to Microsoft 365 have enabled “live events across an organization and new [workplace] analytics to help workers improve their productivity by learning more about how they use their time.” 

LEARN MORE: Find out how collaboration tools bolstered innovation for Optima Healthcare Solutions.

Microsoft Teams Helps Hospitals Communicate in Real Time

Microsoft recently announced new Teams features that include advanced messaging capabilities, such as priority notifications and message delegation. The features also include the ability to integrate electronic health records for care coordination.

Case in point: The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto wanted to improve collaboration among its roughly 10,000 employees by bringing together key conversations, files and tools into workspaces that could be accessed by multiple people in different departments across the organization. The health system was already using other Office 365 products, such as OneNote and Planner; by adding Teams, users gained the ability to communicate in real time.

In an emergency, hospital communications departments must communicate with staff, patient families, media and the community on short notice. That’s what happened in 2018, when a traffic accident resulted in injured children being rushed to SickKids. The hospital had to act fast to develop a response to media inquiries as well as messaging for social media channels and internal groups. 

“In the past, a similar situation would have resulted in the team trying to coordinate public response ... through a flurry of emails. Instead, through Teams’ real-time messaging, file sharing and group chat features, staff working both onsite and remotely were able to collaborate to develop messaging and respond quickly,” according to a Microsoft case study.

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