Modernizing Communication and Collaboration in Healthcare

When I started my career at Microsoft nearly 14 years ago, I dreamed of the day when technology could deliver a total communication and collaboration solution for healthcare. Over the last decade I've observed pieces of that dream come together as information technology matured. It started with gradually improved technologies to deliver rich audio and video over internal and external networks. With those improvements came other tools to manage on-line connections, security, compliance, presence, telephony, desktop sharing, and collaboration. The user experience became more intuitive and solutions started to work not only on  desktop computers but also on mobile devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Then along came the cloud and the ability to deliver communication and collaboration solutions that could take advantage of cloud storage and cloud computing's massive power and ability to provide truly global services. Today, I'm pleased to say that the wait is over. The day has finally arrived for hospitals, health systems, clinics and other organizations needing a modern communication and collaboration solution for the enterprise.

Microsoft has just announced the availability of several new Office 365 communication services designed to modernize voice, video, meeting and collaboration experiences. Furthermore, your hospital, health system, or clinic will be able to save substantial costs in communication infrastructure. Your healthcare organization can now replace legacy meeting and phone systems with innovative services built on the familiar Skype for Business experience. And, this is all naturally integrated within a solution your organization may already be using or plans to use--Office 365. Of course nothing in healthcare is more important than the privacy and security of data and communications, so here too we are announcing significant new security and analytics capabilities aimed at dramatically improving how our healthcare customers can protect their organizations and glean insights from data.

Are you looking for a path to retire your legacy PBX and communications infrastructure? Are you seeking ways to modernize voice, video, and meeting experiences for your far-flung clinical staff and administrators? Are you looking for solutions to help you connect with community clinicians, educate staff, and deliver CME? Do you want to modernize the way care teams work together, the ways departments collaborate, even the ways you communicate with your partners and patients?. All of that and much more is now within your reach.

Built on the familiar Skype user interface, Skype for Business makes connecting with professional colleagues and staff as easy and intuitive as connecting with friends and family on Skype. With the new services announced today, Skype for Business gets even better, for healthcare organizations and their people:

  • PSTN Conferencing provides the flexibility to dial in to a meeting from a traditional phone, in addition to the existing ability to join a meeting with a single click on your PC or mobile device.
  • Skype Meeting Broadcast makes it easier than ever to produce large virtual meetings for up to 10,000 meeting attendees, who can join from virtually any browser or device (see it in action). Now Skype for Business truly is a single platform for every type of meeting.
  • Cloud PBX enables organizations to eliminate separate PBX systems and transition to the cloud with Office 365 as the central location to manage users for communication and
  • With PSTN Calling, Office 365 customers can also subscribe to Microsoft managed calling plans and phone numbers, starting in the U.S. with more markets coming later.

In addition to the Skype for Business capabilities, Microsoft is releasing new security and data analytics capabilities in Office 365, including:

  • Delve Analytics—Empowers individuals through rich dashboards that provide insights on time and relationships, with the goal of helping individuals get time back and spend it effectively.
  • Power BI—A business analytics service that enables information workers to visualize and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency and understanding through live data dashboards, interactive reports and compelling visualizations.
  • Customer Lockbox—Gives customers new approval rights, transparency and control over their data in the cloud.
  • Advanced eDiscovery—Integrates Equivio machine learning, predictive coding and text analytics capabilities, to reduce the costs and challenges that come along with sorting through large quantities of data for eDiscovery purposes.
  • Advanced Threat Protection—Protects against unknown malware and viruses by applying behavioral analysis.

All of these new capabilities are now available and represent significant new value to enterprise organizations. And when it comes to organizations with a genuine need for better, more seamless communication and collaboration solutions, not to mention analytics and business intelligence solutions, healthcare has always been top of mind for this doctor.

Please contact your Microsoft account executive for more information or visit


Bill Crounse, MD        Senior Director, Worldwide Health          Microsoft 

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