Finland’s second-largest public sector employer, HUS Helsinki University Hospital, deployed Microsoft Teams extensively in its organization of 27,000 employees.
Microsoft Teams provides HUS with a foundation for customer-oriented digital transformation, which acts as a part of its vision to be a trendsetter in healthcare.
The deployed Microsoft services offer an easy-to-use solution for remote appointments and consultations. Additionally, their services provide a foundation for planning and executing the organization’s shifts and placements.
HUS’s goal is to develop its external and internal processes, work methods, and communication. Secondary objectives include building a future-proof platform that allows swift development and deployment when facing new challenges down the road.
As a result of the large-scale Microsoft Teams deployment project which began in spring 2020, all alternative services, like Skype, were discontinued altogether. More than 23,000 HUS employees used Microsoft Teams in December 2020, and the numbers have since significantly increased.
HUS aims to make things a little easier, allowing the adoption of new tools much more straightforward. Simultaneously, the latest technology helps HUS solve user challenges and provides support while moving toward a modern work environment.
“Teams not only replaced Skype, but our goal is to expand usage to several new areas,” says Project Manager and Information Systems Planner, Inkeri Saiku. “We are actively seeking benefits, suggested by volunteers. Microsoft Teams is therefore not forced on anyone, but we highly encourage the use through the gained benefits.”
“At the same time, this is a significant cultural change, which means that we are moving to modern working environments across our organization. The development doesn’t stop here and, I promise, we will continue the efforts for a long time to come,” Saiku points out.
Remote appointments and consultations just got better
With the help of Microsoft Teams, HUS has embraced remote customer receptions. The reception can now include more than one person, thanks to Microsoft Teams. Allowing multiple people to join is especially helpful if, and when, a family member or interpreter is needed to take part in the consultation.
During COVID-19, Microsoft Teams provided HUS’s staff with an extra layer of protection as HUS used it to create a remote connection between patients, nurses, and family members.
To ensure equal opportunities in receiving remote help, HUS provided patients who didn’t have a device of their own with a rental device that runs Microsoft Teams, allowing the patients to partake in remote meetings.
Microsoft Teams also helps doctors and nurses have remote consultations with each other. These remote consultations speed up doctors’ work while adding the ability to share evidence to improve the efficiency of operations.
Privacy is ensured by asking the participants to identify themselves via the video by showing a legal ID. Privacy in remote sessions is one aspect that holds HUS’s greater attention for development in the coming years.
Versatile Microsoft Teams
Previously, HUS has been using Microsoft Excel to plan its shifts and placements. Now, Microsoft Teams’ Shifts app is breathing new life into an old work-intense process.
The new user interface makes it much more efficient to review and update work placements, upcoming shifts, and current absences as it’s all visible in a detailed view. Also, the Shifts mobile app adds a great deal of flexibility as it’s readily available anytime, anywhere.
HUS also uses Microsoft Teams in Lean development as a tool for organizing workshops, among other things.
Champions network to support the deployment
Microsoft Teams project is not HUS’s first major IT project as HUS has been modernizing the hospital organization’s IT infrastructure for a few years now. One thing is for sure, however: The current Microsoft Teams project has received a lot more attention due to the coronavirus pandemic. The goal was to have 10,000 users on board by June but, already in April, there were 14,000 users.
“In general, there has been much interest in Teams across our organization – people have been hungry for learning and access to information. The introduction of Apotti, an electronic social and health care record, was also underway at the same time, which naturally slightly taxed the motivation to learn Teams,” Saiku says.
To maximize the interest, at the beginning of 2020, HUS established a champions network, Velho, to encourage Microsoft Teams deployment among staff.
The champions network, consisting of volunteers from all HUS departments, hosted trainings and meetings to collect feedback continuously and learn from the end-users. The network currently employs more than 90 champions and is sponsored by Visa Honkanen, Director of Development at HUS.
“The champion network has its own Microsoft Teams channel and meetings are held every other week. In these meetings, we go through new Microsoft Teams features and consider development opportunities within these,” Saiku says.
Close cooperation – Key to Success
Microsoft Partner, Sulava, has been closely involved in the project – from planning to implementation. Additionally, many of Sulava’s consultants have been working in HUS’s Information Management team for a long time.
“Our cooperation has been extraordinarily functional, versatile, and flexible. We’ve received help in the design and implementation of the whole IT-environment, and the consultants dedicated to us have been providing us a wide range of help. For example, help in designing and implementing training videos. Also, Sulava employees know Microsoft products excellently and always know what’s coming,” Saiku comments.
Cultural changes don’t happen over one night – achieving cultural change requires continuous and relentless effort. HUS’s Microsoft Teams implementation journey’s next steps include increased mobile use and better support for mobile employees, expanding the champions network, and deploying many new Teams features.