On April 15, 42 healthcare institutions took part in the care circle: an interactive online session, organised by Workspace 365 with Innovation-, IT and Communication managers from healthcare organisations. During this session, we presented our vision of the future of the digital workspace for healthcare, but we were especially interested in the vision of the healthcare industry itself. Today, I share a report of the event. At the moment, we are still working on a study among healthcare providers. If you’d like to learn more about this or want to discuss the content of this report with us, please let us know.

Vision of the digital workspace for healthcare

During the session and in discussions with IT and Communication managers in healthcare, there were a few constantly recurring points. The modern workspace has to be simple for all generations, adaptive and automatically secure.

Automatically personalised workspace

You can find an example of an adaptive workspace at Oktober, where they use conditional access to block applications outside of the company network. Another example is a care organisation that makes specific information available in a live tile, based on the device. This way, employees can see intranet information on their mobile phone, but not the information from an electronic health record (EHR).

Insight into all systems from one starting point

People are tired of switching between all portals, intranet and applications. There is clearly a need for a central workspace, in which primary tasks are supported by easy access to the underlying applications and documents. This can be realised by, for example, integrating protocols, information from an EHR or simplifying access to the EHR.

A safe cloud workspace (without compromising on user experience)

An ongoing trend is the shift to the cloud. With this, healthcare organisations want to save costs, scale up more easily and make working device-independently possible. For working device-independently, it is however crucial that it’s automatically secured, without care workers having to think about this themselves. This can be realised by adding Single Sign-On (to prevent the use of easy passwords), Multi-Factor Authentication (set up in such a way that it doesn’t compromise the work, for example outside the network or after a specific session time-out), by adding encryption and security measures to the mailbox (for example with SmartLockr).

What innovation projects are healthcare organisations proud of?

After sharing the vision, healthcare organisations also shared the projects they’re most proud of. For one care institution, this was the transition from laptops to tablets, while another was already making the step from tablets to mobile phones, because these fit into people’s pocket more easily. Currently, another important point is rolling out Teams chat, video consults and remote intervisions.

Here you also see the need for a central starting point. Multiple healthcare organisations reported to have set up smart forms for care plans. They integrate these, together with elements of Microsoft 365 (before: Office 365), into one digital workspace or intranet solution.

What process disrupts innovation?

Vendor lock-in and closed systems

Healthcare organisations are pretty far ahead of the curve when it comes to their innovative strength. However, there are processes which disrupt this innovation. A common item is the vendor lock-in of software developers, where healthcare organisations are tied to a software provider, because the data isn’t easily transferred to another system. Due to the lack of data integration possibilities, it’s also difficult to create the ideal starting point. Many care applications don’t have API or don’t make it available for other software vendors. There’s clearly a need for a standard or central system.

To the matter above, I’d like to add that we, as Workspace 365, want to work together with healthcare organisations to communicate the concerns to software providers, to simplify the work of care workers.

Reporting needs to become smarter

Another recurring matter is the knowledge transfer in home care during (sick) leave. Since reporting minimally occurs, providing care when someone (temporarily) takes over operations is hindered. It therefore needs to become even easier to quickly and easily record bedside which medication is given, which actions were taken and more. One healthcare organisation suggested that it could be interesting to research voice technology, to save time on the input.

Secondary processes are scattered across applications

Also, there is a need to unite processes. Currently, there are many systems, causing secondary processes to be disconnected. For instance, at some healthcare organisations, requesting leave is completely separate from reporting sick, which both are completely disconnected from the scheduling system.

Communication with third parties can be faster

Lastly, there is a great need to communicate with third parties from one application, both with the patient, community and other healthcare organisations. During our (ongoing) investigation among healthcare workers, we found out that they currently find it difficult to find contact information of family members and clients. Because of this, home care workers sometimes nervously stand in front of a closed patient’s door, looking for contact information, trying to figure out if they forgot to mention they had an outing that day.

Artificial intelligence to improve primary processes

One of the technologies that could help improve care support is artificial intelligence. To be specific: by using narrow A.I. (this type of technology you’re already using daily with Google Maps route suggestions, music preference predictions in Spotify and showing ads or posts on social media).

With narrow A.I., we want to make it possible in the future to automatically show the most important items from the healthcare record to the care worker. Since the care worker doesn’t have to go search for it but gets a notification, it becomes easier to follow client-specific wishes.

Additionally, with artificial intelligence, information can also be retrieved by actively urging care workers to register data, based on their schedule and available client information. With this, you unburden the employees regarding registration and they can spend more time on their client.

Targeted communication and help requests from colleagues

By using a central system, targeted communication becomes easier. Communication managers now point out that they find it difficult to communicate the right messages to the right target group. When all information and applications are available in one workspace, they also get a designated place to reach specific target groups.

During the interviews with care workers, it also became clear that care workers oftentimes don’t know who they can turn to with questions. For this reason, it’s important to add expertise to profiles or use an organisation-wide social feed, where people can ask questions.

Onboarding new employees

An often mentioned improvement for secondary processes, is the onboarding of new employees. Where do they find information regarding to primary and secondary processes? How are their permissions assigned during their start of employment? Can they get training digitally?

Especially healthcare organisations who are actively recruiting employees or are involved with a merger state that there is a need for a simple, standard and automated way to onboard care workers in the organisation.

From application portal or intranet to one central workspace

Again, we’d like to thank everyone that took part in the session. We will use the information to adjust the development of our adaptive workspace to your wishes and challenges even more. Additionally, we share the findings in conversations with IT and Communication managers of healthcare organisations, to get even more insight and connect people with each other if needed.

At the moment, we’re already working on several integrations with healthcare protocols (an integration with Vilans KICK protocols already exists) and we’re discussing disclosing information from EHRs. Do you also want to make information available in your digital workspace or intranet? Contact us to develop this together with other healthcare organisations.


Learn more about Workspace 365 for healthcare in our whitepaper.

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Mark Grasmayer

Mark Grasmayer

Product Evangelist

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