Healthcare professionals operating on a patient
Read Time, 5 min.

In times of crisis, an organization looks to its leadership for guidance.

As COVID-19 spread through Europe in early 2020, Maasstad Ziekenhuis Hospital CEO Peter Langenbach had planned to lead his hospital’s crisis response as he would any other – being present and visible, leadership traits instilled in him during his time in the Dutch Air Force.

“But as we went into lockdown, I started to develop symptoms myself and had to self-isolate,” he says.

“I was very frustrated – suddenly having to manage the hospital from home. But two things came out of this period. One, I understood what my other self-isolating colleagues were going through, and how hard it was for them to be away when they wanted to help.

“And secondly, I quickly had to get hands on with the new remote working tools we put in place, which gave me a unique perspective as CEO.”

These tools were part of Maasstad’s COVID-19 response plan to swiftly implement social distancing measures – without reducing patient care.

A forward-thinking institute

Based in Rotterdam, Maasstad Ziekenhuis is one of the Netherland’s largest Top Clinical Hopsitals, providing acute care to over 450,000 patients each year, and research and education to medical students from across the region.

With a high focus on patient care, the hospital has collaborated with Microsoft on a number of innovations that help support value-based healthcare and shared decision making – an approach where both patient and doctor decide on treatment plans together. A trial of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Surface Hubs were planned for later in 2020, but as COVID-19 struck and social distancing measures were imposed by the government in February, their timeline had to be drastically moved up.

“We needed to keep the hospital at a high capacity without compromising the health of our clinicians or patients,” explains Langenbach. “Along with a safe and secure way for staff to communicate and work remotely, so we could all respond quickly as the situation developed.”

With Microsoft Teams already identified as the solution, it was up to Microsoft partner Wortell to rapidly implement the new system.

“We had to move very quickly, which meant completing tasks in hours rather than weeks,” recalls Jennifer Houtenbos, FastTrack Manager at Wortell.

“A roll-out of this size would normally take around 6-9 months,” she says. “There’s a lot of technical aspects as well as the governance and security to think about. So it was challenging. But I’m proud of how quickly we were able to do it.”

Adopting a digital solution

In a matter of days, Maasstad had Microsoft Teams in place and adopted a three-phase approach to COVID-19 – manage the crisis, rebuild and stabilize, and lastly adapt to the new normal.

“We are now in the middle of the rebuild phase,” says Langenbach. “Using Teams, we were able to find safer ways to communicate and continue treating patients, so now it’s about maintaining that and adapting to this new reality.”

Staff at Maasstad have also been encouraged to work remotely where they can. “By the third week we were having hourly meetings using Teams to keep everyone up-to-speed,” he recalls. “It meant that even if people had to stay home, they could still be part of the conversation.

“This was especially important for our daily Crisis Management team meetings,” he adds. “We couldn’t risk everyone being in the same place and all falling ill, so using Teams and a Surface Hub, we were able to remotely collaborate between our offices or homes and a central meeting room – ensuring the hospital’s progress was kept on track.”

The benefits of distance healthcare

For Maasstad Ziekenhuis, this fast response has helped keep staff and patients safe across the hospital, most importantly in the COVID-19 department – a closed off area where protective equipment must always be worn and immediately disposed of when you leave.

“In the first few weeks of lockdown, protective equipment was very scarce,” explains Langenbach. “We had a shortage of masks – and that meant we had to be incredibly careful about making sure we were being as efficient as possible.

“With Teams, we could securely communicate with key doctors or surgeons in this area, without them needing to leave and spend time getting protected all over again. It helped us restrict this department to just the necessary people, making it safer for everyone and overall use fewer gloves and masks.”

This approach also helped the hospital safely carry out their ‘top hundred’ meeting – a regular collaboration between directors, managers and team leaders. Instead of everyone sitting together, the meeting is hosted virtually via Microsoft Teams and a Surface Hub, with attendees breaking into smaller groups to discuss different priorities.

“I could dip into each of these virtual meetings and be part of the conversation, then five minutes later join the next one,” says Langenbach. “It was a great solution to keep this important meeting in the calendar, and the Surface Hub helped us easily collate everyone’s thoughts – as if we were all collaborating in the same room.”

Adapting to a new reality

As the hospital now moves towards its final phase, this new system has received an overwhelmingly positive response from clinical staff – making Peter confident that it still has a greater role to play in how Maasstad offers care in the future.

“We’re already making plans for life beyond COVID-19,” he says. “Coming back to value-based healthcare: if we can get at least 40% of outpatients using virtual consultations through Teams, we can treat them more efficiently going forward with the same strict privacy and security we would guarantee inside the hospital.”

At a challenging and confusing time for the healthcare sector, Maasstad Ziekenhuis’s rapid response has shown us how technology can help everyone adapt when our most basic rights are restricted – and that even essential skills that doctors and nurses offer could soon be readily available from the comfort of your home.

Photographer: Robin Utrecht

Teams for Healthcare Adoption Guide

Learn more about how Teams is transforming the way hospitals can interact and communicate.

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

  • a woman using a laptop

    Make remote learning work better for everyone. Find out how.

    Since the COVID-19 outbreak first hit China, our education customers in the country have done amazing things to keep students engaged while they transition to remote learning. From eLearning innovations, to keeping students’ spirits high with photo and cooking challenges – teachers and students have shown extraordinary resilience during this difficult time. Now, as the […]

  • a woman using a laptop

    Find out how to deliver enhanced education through ‘blended learning’

    Since the COVID-19 outbreak, our education customers have done amazing things to keep students engaged while learning from home. From eLearning innovations, to lifting the spirits with photo and cooking challenges – teachers and students have shown extraordinary resilience during a difficult time. Schools and universities have witnessed the exceptional value that online learning can […]

Government

  • a man and two women standing in front of a brick building

    Ajuntament de Lleida: transforming the public sector with a modern, virtual workplace

    “At Ajuntament de Lleida, we think differently. We embrace new technology. And when we see that it could add real value to the work we do, we find a way to make it happen.” Carles GinéSabaté, Systems Implementation Planning Manager at Ajuntament de Lleida, is reflecting on his organization’s open-armed approach to digital transformation and […]

  • Ineco

    Ineco improves employee productivity with modern tools and AI

    Struggling with software doesn’t help people get more done. Likewise, if sharing files and collaborating on documents is difficult, productivity takes a hit. Ineco, a Spanish public sector company, understands this, which is why it set out to change the way employees interact with technology and one another. By deploying Microsoft 365 to its over […]

Healthcare

  • a woman standing in front of a screen

    Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta: providing essential patient care from a distance

    “Telehealth was a technology we’d been planning to implement for a couple of years. But then almost overnight everything changed – it became a must-have platform the hospital needed today.” Francesca De Giorgi, CIO of Italian research hospital IRCCS Carlo Besta, reflects on the recent challenges her team faced when social distancing measures imposed by […]

  • Two female healthcare professionals looking at a tablet

    Virtual Care webinar

    A discussion of the Virtual Care solutions made possible by Microsoft Teams – brought to life by a case study in Italy.

Manufacturing

Retail

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

  • A smiling man wearing glasses looking at the camera

    HUS: sharing data securely to make life-saving decisions

    Illnesses and diseases don’t often play fair – an unfortunate truth that was proved by the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, heavily hitting healthcare organizations with challenges the world hadn’t seen in a century. Hospitals needed a rapid response to reduce spreading the virus without affecting patient care. A high-pressure situation for any institution, but […]

Digital Transformation

  • Two female nurses having a virtual conversation through Microsoft Teams

    Belfast Trust: Reimagining patient care

    “There have been many heroic actions by our staff but we’re not heroes for what we’ve done – I’m just glad we could do our bit to help.” Paul Duffy, Co-Director of IT and Telecommunications at Belfast Trust, is talking about the monumental impact COVID-19 has had on the healthcare sector and how virtual consultations […]

Security & Privacy

  • a close up of a logo

    The power of trust: thoughts on security in the digital age

    When you’ve been working in digital security for a quarter of a century, as I have, people often ask what my number 1 piece of advice is to help businesses and organizations build trust with their customers and partners. My answer is always the same: “Don’t be creepy!” I know it’s a cliché to use […]

Tips

  • iPhone showing Outlook Mobile emails

    Stay connected and organised at work, at home and on the go with Outlook Mobile

    Outlook Mobile was launched with a mission to deliver the best on-the-go email and calendar app.  An app combining the best possible customer experience with enterprise security – all designed uniquely for a mobile-first experience. Today, Outlook Mobile is used on more than 100 million iOS and Android devices and continues to receive high ratings. […]