With such a large workforce in place, employees of the Trust need to be able to communicate easily and effectively. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was using a variety of different communications platforms for video and audio conferencing, online collaboration, instant messaging and ad-hoc conferencing.
This variety of platforms led to user confusion over which solution should be used, and when they should be used. This resulted in reduced confidence in collaboration tools which some described as cumbersome and difficult to use, many people preferring to meet physically instead. This situation presented more problems as ageing equipment was costly for the service staff to maintain and IT resources were being used to help people with existing tools.
“We wanted to encourage people to use these services, but what we didn’t want is a whole array of different systems to manage and maintain,” explained Bob Beckwith, Infrastructure Manager, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust decided it needed to replace the plethora of tools being used for communication and collaboration with a secure, reliable, easy-to-use product, that could provide them with everything that was needed to enable simple communication in a single platform.
“Being a hospital, we are very conscious that the content shared within the collaboration tool would be around patients, would be about their care, and securing that information is absolutely critical."
After a period of evaluating the options available, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust decided on Microsoft Teams as its sole collaboration platform and Prodec Networks as the integrator. Microsoft Teams was already widely used for non-clinical communication and collaboration, it was therefore decided that extending its features and capabilities into the Trusts 40+ meeting environments was the most logical option.
“We have a number of use cases for video collaboration,” explained Bob. “Just to name a few. One is the major incident planning, and communication is absolutely key during those scenarios. We use it in IT, as priority 1 incident management. We have a fetal medicine service, which uses video collaboration extensively. We have British Sign Language interpreter services. MDTs, multidisciplinary teams, they have all now had room upgrades with multiple screens and Microsoft Teams Rooms installed to help them with their conversations. We have a number of remote clinics outside the Trust with patients. So we now deliver that service remotely using Microsoft Teams, and for town hall type meetings, meetings with lots of participants.