When Covid-19 had spread out in Europe, everyone’s life drastically changed. And every day we see new numbers coming in, going from new infections, people who died from Covid-19 or how the disease is spreading out. Whilst our economy is under enormous pressure, as almost everything is shutting down. And through all of that, people needed to start working from home, some together with their kids, with not having the option to rely on family or friends.
But through all these changes, uncertainty, and negative news, I also saw and was involved in a lot of positiveness and empowerment. In particular how my team and I were able to empower our healthcare organizations. I could not be more proud to work for a company as Microsoft, where everyone is going above and beyond and how we are providing tools and technology with various free 6 months Covid-19 trials. This goes from enabling conversational A.I. through our Healthcare Bot Service, provide Telehealth via Microsoft Teams or enabling critical solutions in a couple of days via our Power Platform.
Healthcare Bot Service Covid-19
The Microsoft Healthcare Bot team released different templates to support our customers for different scenarios. This goes from providing self assessment, to cope with all the questions from citizens around Covid-19, enabling triage or providing crucial answers on various Covid-19 questions.
The templates can easily be modified and extended to the needs of the hospital and can also be translated in any language. This resulted in deployments throughout almost every Western Europe country. And for Denmark this was a nation wide implementation. With over 150000 unique users in just over 2 weeks.
To make the deployment more easy and effective, I created a Github page that contains code snippets, translations, scenario flows, Power BI Template and other useful items. This has been widely used with our partners and customers, which allowed us to deploy with an amazing speed. The fastest deployment was one day, from initial conversation to production.
Another great added value of the bots, were the insights that our customers received based on the data of the bot. Healthcare organizations could now see potential hotspots, discover correlations or see upcoming trends in the Covid-19 situation.
Currently we are supporting our customers in the next waves of Covid-19. Think about scenarios when people will go back to the office, and employers would like to provide daily self observation, or if hospitals want to enable self observation to patients when the initial remote self assessment was a potential Covid-19 case. Or how can we gather large scale data on the households who are impacted by Covid -19. Some of these scenarios will be implemented in the coming days and weeks.
As most of you have heard and probably found out, remote working has massively increased, and so did the usage of some of the online collaboration platforms. Microsoft Teams was already widely adopted, but in the last weeks, this got a massive boost, and here we also supported our Healthcare customers with different scenarios and implementations.
Microsoft enabled Virtual visits, which allowed caregivers to provide remote care to their patients. Next to the Virtual Visits, our team also supported electronic medical record providers to include Teams into their platform. This also was done with amazing speed and efficiency, on average, we integrated Microsoft Teams in 3 days.
Next to Virtual Visits, Microsoft also enabled Virtual Rounding using Microsoft Teams. Hospital and emergency room providers make dozens, and often hundreds of “rounds” per day. These quick check-ins on patients are intended to provide a status check on how the patient is doing and ensure that the patient’s concerns are addressed. While rounding is an essential practice to ensure patients are being monitored by multiple types of providers, they represent a huge drain on personal protective equipment, because for each visit, from each provider, a new mask, and new set of gloves must be used. What if patients could still have frequent check-ins with all necessary providers, while not draining the hospital of equipment, and perhaps even exposing providers to less risk of exposure to Covid-19? Allowing for Virtual Rounding as an option may help reduce risk and drain on personal protective equipment .
With the Power Platform we supported our Healthcare organizations by providing them a platform to create and deploy crucial applications to manage different Covid-19 challenges. The Power Platform is particularly well suited here, as it enables rapid creation and deployment, with the help of low code/no code. This allowed us to co-develop together with the business, which increases efficiency and quality.
Microsoft released different open source solutions to address Covid-19 scenarios. The most popular are:
- Emergency Response Solution Template: More info here
- Crisis Communication App Template: More info here
- Patient Assessment & Volunteering Tracking
Another impact-full project is where we enabled employee registration and testing of Covid-19 at home. With the help of a Power Portal and a Power App, an organization can send a text message to an employee who has been potentially infected with Covid-19. The employee can then choose to register for testing at home. When registered, an employee of the lab comes to the home of the employee, delivers a self test kit, and takes the kit back for processing in the lab. All the information is then securely stored in the medical record, without giving any data access to the employer. This was created, from initial conversation to production in less then 3 days.
We also enabled hospitals to manage on-boarding and placement of 5000+ external caregivers. With the help of a single Power App.
All this amazing work has been achieved in the last weeks, and I could not be proud on these joint achievements. This would not have been possible with the support of our amazing partners. I am truly grateful that I could work with organizations such as proactive, Arinti, Avanade, Tieto and many others.
Another important factor, was the trust we received with our customers. Thanks to the daily effort of Microsoft, in making our different cloud platforms one of the most secure and trusted, in combination with the daily interactions and support we are provide to our Healthcare organizations, enabled us to move and scale at this speed, with security, privacy and trust at its base.
The last thing I want to mention and thank, is one of the most important persons who empowered me, to work through days, nights, and weekends. As a proud father of a son of 3 and daughter of 6, it was sometimes challenging to keep focused and work at this speed. But I am very fortunate that with the support of my amazing wife, who handled most of the load of these little troublemakers, whilst also working from home, also made this possible. Which makes me really feel blessed and proud 😊.
Stay safe, healthy, empowered, driven, motivated, supported, … And don’t forget to wash your hands and keep 2 meters distance ;).