Microsoft Office 365 has been available since June 2011 and in this time we have seen the number of private sector organisations migrating to the cloud increase month on month. However the number of public sector organisations following suit has not matched that of the private sector. This is particularly noticeable in healthcare where the very nature of the relevant data and geographical spread of the organisation can both be seen as barriers to entry into the cloud.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) together with Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner Core have bucked this trend; becoming one of Healthcare’s early adopters of Office 365 for email. They have recently become a truly cloud enabled emergency service using Microsoft Lync to communicate with their 3,200 staff, spread over 6400 square miles, helping them to reduce costs and improve peer dialogue.
Most recently they have used Microsoft Lync to set-up a monthly video-conference between their Chief Executive and over 100 managers based across the area; from as far north as Nottingham to as far south as Northampton. These video-conferences have enabled a two-way dialogue between all staff, ensuring that all feedback and comments on current service re-design consultations are received in real-time and acted upon. The number of people joining these video-conferences has increased month on month due to the high-tech, slick nature of the conferences and the speedy responses received. Overall the interaction with the Senior Management Team has increased staff motivation and saved time as meetings are happening remotely.
EMAS chose Microsoft Office 365 due to the ease of implementation and the cost-effective subscription model. Other public sector organisations facing a squeeze on budgets and public services now need not worry about budget constraints and investing in a new local IT infrastructure. Migrating to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365 now allows you to move from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model and control the amount you spend on a usage basis.
EMAS’ use of Microsoft Office 365 continues to grow as more and more people are transferred over to the new system and the benefits of real time online communication are recognised by teams all over the area. Future plans include incorporating video-conferencing in front line ambulances to offer real-time instant access to specialist consultants in the receiving hospital.
This example proves the benefit of Microsoft Office 365 to healthcare organisations; and provides a real alternative to traditional IT systems in today’s fast moving digital environment.
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by Clare Ashby