Using communication and collaboration tools to improve patient care and clinical workflow

HealthBlog readers will find frequent references on this blog to the importance of communication and collaboration in patient care and clinical workflow. As a former practicing physician, and knowing what I know about modern communication and collaboration best practices, I’m often dumbfounded that so many of my clinical colleagues still resort to paper, phone and fax to do their work. Today, there are far better options that can help doctors, nurses and other clinicians work more efficiently and communicate more effectively with other care team members and their patients. 

To help you understand the tools being used by the most progressive healthcare organizations today, we’ve prepared a short video. I think it effectively demonstrates why there’s more to contemporary clinical workflow and patient care than having an electronic medical record at your fingertips. Take a look at the video and then continue reading.

Communication and Collaboration in Health

In a second short video, let me show you how this “unified communications” technology actually facilitates clinical workflow. In the video, you’ll see a demo of how Microsoft Lync helps clinicians and other care team members work together in a typical patient care scenario. While this is only a demo, we have numerous examples from around the world where this very same technology has been deployed in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Specialists are using it to communicate and collaborate with community clinicians. Hospitals are using it to extend the reach of their continuing medical education courses. Doctors are conducting telemedicine sessions with patients at remote clinic locations. Home health nurses are using it to check on clients remotely and lessen the frequency of travel. The list goes on and on.

Check out the video, and then continue reading.

Windows 8 “Rounds App” demo showing embedded unified communications

You can learn more on how healthcare organizations and clinicians are using unified communications technology for care team collaboration and patient care by clicking on this link. Here you’ll find more examples and some interesting case studies that are sure to peak your interest.

Footnote: (updated 11/29/2012)

The Commonwealth Fund just published a report “A Survey of Primary Care Doctors in Ten Countries Shows Progress in Use of Health Information Technology, Less in Other Areas”.  The synopsis of the report is as follows:

An international survey of primary care physicians in 10 countries finds progress in use of electronic medical records (EMRs)—particularly in the United States, though the U.S. still lags several countries where EMR adoption is near-universal. U.S. doctors report their patients continue to have problems paying for health care, with well over half saying patients often cannot afford care. In each nation, physicians contend with communication and care coordination challenges.

Bill Crounse, MD               Senior Director, Worldwide Health               Microsoft

Comments (2)
  1. Mark says:

    So when are you going to build the real thing…?

  2. hlthblog says:


    Many health organizations are already using our unified communications platform (Office365 + Lync) to improve collaboration in clinics and hospitals.  See…/improving-productivity-patient-satisfaction-and-clinical-workflow-in-your-medical-practice-clinic-or-hospital.aspx

    If your question specifically relates to our demo "Rounds App", the answer is that we (Microsoft) won't build it, but many partners around the world likely will. We did the "Rounds" demo as a kind of "template" for what is possible to inspire developers around the world to create apps for the healthcare industry.  Many of our ISV partners are already offering Windows 8 apps that work with their EMR/HIS solutions.  Examples are apps that have already been released or are under development from Allscripts, Greenway and NextGen.

    Bill Crounse, MD

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