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Almost half a million MS Teams messages a day sent in the NHS during COVID-19 lockdown
The average number of weekday remote meetings carried out in the NHS using Microsoft Teams has reached 90,250: more than a six-fold increase since the week it was rolled out across the NHS by NHS Digital, following lockdown restrictions1.
On average, the number of active users per weekday has also more than trebled to almost 132,000, with over 465,000 messages sent between NHS colleagues a day. More than 15,500,000 messages have been sent since the rollout.2
Microsoft Teams has been available for free, for a limited time-period across the NHS, to help counter the increased risks associated with COVID-19. It provides secure instant messaging, direct audio and video calls between NHS colleagues and has virtual meeting capabilities3. It can support remote and mobile working, helping staff to work and deliver advice to each other during the coronavirus outbreak.
NHS Digital rolled this out to 1.3m users with NHSmail accounts between 16-20 March4.
Chris Parsons, who runs NHSmail at NHS Digital, said: “I am delighted to see that the sector has been able to make full use of the technology that is available to them at this pressing time. The growth in usage over the last eight weeks has been staggering and shows the appetite for digital solutions to the problems the front line has been facing.
“Many doctors and nurses have had to work remotely to provide effective care, especially to those patients who have been self-isolating, and technology like this can help make it possible.”
Gary Hotine, Director of Health Informatics, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. said: When the Trust was first dealing with the COVID-19 situation we had a huge challenge in quickly supporting the workforce that needed to work remotely as part of social distancing.
“When NHS Digital stood up MS Teams we were able to keep staff much more connected, and even maintain Multi-Disciplinary Teams across organisations when it became impossible for our clinicians to use the room-based video conferencing facilities. Now, it’s become part of the fabric of how we work at all levels.”
Dawn Dawson, Dorset HealthCare’s Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality said: “Using a digital platform has been absolutely essential in helping us to respond to the pandemic effectively. It has allowed us to run our incident management remotely and safely share information quickly and be responsive at this challenging time.
“Importantly, it has also enabled our teams to stay connected – our staff rely on regular communication with each other, both for work purposes and for looking after each other and combating the isolation people can feel working remotely. Going digital has given us the ability to keep that vital contact going.”
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Notes to editors
- Average number of weekday meetings in first week, 23 March to 29 March – 13,521
Average number of weekday meetings in eighth week, 11 May to 17 May – 90,253
- Total number of team and private messages sent, 23 March to 15 May – 15,549,780
- Microsoft Teams is a secure communications platform which is protected and monitored within the NHS Secure Boundary.
- For NHS organisations without NHSmail accounts, NHS Digital offered support so that they could access the offer directly with Microsoft.
NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.