The average number of weekday remote meetings carried out in the NHS using Microsoft Teams has reached 90,250 more than a six-fold increase since the week it was rolled out across the NHS by NHS Digital, following lockdown restrictions.
On average, the number of active users per weekday has also more than trebled to almost 132,000, with over 465,000 messages sent between NHS colleagues a day. More than 15,500,000 messages have been sent since the roll-out.
Microsoft Teams has been available for free, for a limited time-period across the NHS, to help counter the increased risks associated with COVID-19. It provides secure instant messaging, direct audio and video calls between NHS colleagues and has virtual meeting capabilities.
It can support remote and mobile working, helping staff to work and deliver advice to each other during the coronavirus outbreak. NHS Digital rolled this out to 1.3m users with NHSmail accounts between 16th–20th March.
Chris Parsons, who runs NHSmail at NHS Digital said: ‘I am delighted to see that the sector has been able to make full use of the technology that is available to them at this pressing time. 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.’
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.’
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