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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Sep 17 2012   9:09PM GMT

Next generation unified messaging and 5 of its top benefits for hospitals



Posted by: RedaChouffani
Hospitals, Lync, Unified Messaging

Today’s hospitals are looking for effective solutions that can be leveraged to help consolidate systems as well as solve their challenges. Many are looking at identifying the appropriate solution to help upgrade their communication systems, given the aging private branch exchange (PBX) system.

There are many internet protocol (IP)-based telephony products that extend beyond the traditional telephony side, and provide collaboration tools from IM, voicemail to text, recording tools, interactive voice response (IVR), and mobility that are available in today’s marketplace.

Microsoft has provided a platform that resolves many of the challenges today’s hospitals are faced with, along with other successful products in the marketplace. Microsoft Lync is the enterprise-ready unified communications system that is competing with some of today’s top voice-over IP (VoIP) and PBX systems.

The following is a short list of use cases for hospitals to leverage as part of Microsoft Lync:

ACO and care coordination:  One of the best features on Lync is the ability to allow for collaboration with outside organizations that are using Lync simply by being federated with them.  This would be a significant benefit for health care providers who are actively collaborating in the care of a patient.  Imagine a physician reviewing a patient’s chart and from within the EHR they have the ability to reach out to a specialist and share with them their screen and be able to talk while reviewing the medical record of their patient. All the communication can then be stored or archived and become part of the patient’s record for future use.  This is basically the ability to use the contextual conversation capability that Microsoft Lync offers.

Mobility and platform agnostic: Microsoft recognized the importance of having their application compatible with multiple platforms early on. Microsoft Lync is almost fully functional on MacBooks, Windows, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. This enables many to be able to utilize the IM, voice, and other capabilities no matter where they are.

Web based App:  Office web apps are some of the web-based tools that are available for Lync users to perform presentations and communicate with others completely via web. The need for software installations would be eliminated and calls about software deployment would be reduced thanks to this feature.

Consolidation of technologies and products: For many organizations it is critical to put their IT talent to greater use. The IT team will be able to properly focus on what is more important for the health organization when Microsoft Lync offers audio, video, conferencing, collaboration, voice archiving, and mobility all in one platform. There will not be a need for specialized IT folks, for each product, as traditionally seen when working with multiple vendors.

Ease of use: Lync’s ease of use is recognized by many current users. It has the ability to use one click calling, conferring capabilities, easy meeting schedule from outlook, and content sharing.  These capabilities increase the value that solutions such as Lync are bring to the different organizations adopting this technology.

A solution such as Microsoft Lync will enable clinicians and administrative staff to communicate and share health information effectively across organizations, a potential benefit for health care organizations trying to identify platforms to improve patient care. It will decrease operational costs through a significant reduction in management, and make for lower and and more predictable costs. It will also improve workflows, yielding increased productivity and allow for collaboration regardless of location. All this will help improve patient care.

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