This week has seen a landmark deal agreed and celebrated between the NHS and Microsoft.
It represents so much more than agreeing a price for software. We believe it is a significant turning point that will see the NHS move quickly towards being a more digitally enabled and integrated organisation.
The adoption of Microsoft 365, including Microsoft Teams, is a real step forward for leading software providers like Empactis, whose technology is based within the same cloud and deeply integrated with Microsoft.
All parties will benefit but, ultimately, it means that the NHS can have more integrated, more efficient and more user-friendly systems with which to work on a daily basis.
At this time of Covid-19, having systems that work for and look after employees’ health will be paramount to the future of the NHS. The timing is certainly no coincidence.
Covid-19 has impacted the NHS in many challenging ways.
The heroic efforts of frontline staff and the reorganisation of clinical services for patient care has been highly visible. Yet huge changes also happened behind the scenes, including a mass shift to home-working for many NHS administrative functions.
Some, such as the HR and occupational health teams dedicated to supporting staff, encountered a deluge of work, including managing huge spikes in staff absence. Many Trusts responded by reshaping functions to centralise, share the load and reallocate their resources to meet needs that changed daily.
The pandemic has seen many areas of the NHS turn to technology solutions.
Some have been hugely successful: for example, GPs have adopted new ways of communicating that are likely to become a permanent fixture. In other areas, however, it became clear that accessing tools and connecting essential information was not always easy. Many Trusts have had to cobble together information from disparate systems, to cope with unprecedented demands such as twice-daily situation reporting to NHSEI.
Appetite for change
Acceleration of digital tools adoption and a hugely increased appetite for digital change appear to be positive outcomes of the pandemic.
Improving access across the NHS to proven and powerful solutions like Microsoft 365 is a huge step in the right direction and helps to lower the cost, one of the NHS’s perennial barriers to change.
The pandemic proved the need for agility, and this deal also paves the way for the NHS to realise the benefits of cloud for exactly that purpose. Cloud systems are easier and faster to provision, scale, and configure to suit organisational shape and needs, and require far less internal IT support. In addition, it allows suppliers of such systems to innovate quickly and respond to situations such as the pandemic.
It could also have a particularly significant impact on back-office and administrative efficiency.
During the pandemic, many NHS administrative and non-clinical staff began to work from home, and it is likely that this will continue for a considerable time to come. Like other office workers, NHS teams went from working in adjoining desks and team areas to working alone. The prospect of all such teams gaining access to Microsoft 365 capabilities such as Teams is hugely positive. It gives them not just document tools but the ability to collaborate with colleagues and with suppliers, and to maintain social contact with video and messaging.
World of opportunity
We applaud the work of NHSX and NHS Digital in working with Microsoft to bring about such an important development.
Encouraging adoption of Microsoft 365 means that a major opportunity also now exists for NHS Trusts to take advantage of the wider ecosystem of innovative solutions that share the Microsoft environment.
Empactis is built on the same powerful, secure and scaleable cloud platform as Microsoft 365 and was designed to work seamlessly with it.
For our customer Trusts that means smooth and rapid deployment and easier integration of advanced absence and employee health management into daily ways of working and communication. For managers it means a single sign-on with no need to log in and out of different software, and effortless access to the tools and information they need in the moment to do their jobs better.
We’re already helping Trusts around the UK prepare for the second wave that appears increasingly likely. Empactis has taken the learnings from our work with customers in the first wave to create a rapid deployment solution that can help new Trusts to manage absence, testing, returns to work and situation reporting more easily.
As the pandemic continues on its course, equipping the teams that the NHS depend on to support its staff is essential.
Microsoft 365 will help ensure NHS staff can work effectively individually and together. Empactis can help line managers, HR and occupational health teams to better support the health and wellbeing of staff, by maintaining contact with those who are absent so they can return to work at the right time, stay healthy in work, and receive help when they need it.
Could the Empactis rapid deployment solution help you to meet your absence, test and vaccination management challenges arising from Covid-19? We’re here and ready to help – visit our NHS Covid-19 page or call 020 3793 9536 now
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