Thousands of work hours are being put to better use thanks to NHS staff using Microsoft Teams to communicate with colleagues, rather than picking up the phone or holding in-person meetings, a study has shown.
NHS Digital rolled the software out nationally to 1.3m users across the NHS in March, and in the space of six months it has been used to replace 14.5m phone calls, and hosted more than 32m virtual meetings.
In one week alone nearly six million messages were sent between NHS colleagues and more than 1.3m meetings were held using the software.
The Digital Workplace team from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust studied the efficiency of using Teams and found that on average a staff member would save one minute by using the software instead of a phone each time they called a colleague and five minutes every time they replaced an in-person meeting with a virtual one.
Associate Director of ICT Operations at Imperial College NHS Trust, Pushpak Nayak said: “When joining a Teams meeting there’s no need to spend time checking if a meeting room is available and no need to leave your work area to get to the meeting room. In many cases the time saving would be much greater than five minutes, especially if the meeting is being held at another hospital site.
“With Teams calls, time is saved by knowing someone is available to take your call and not having to find their number.”
With the huge number of calls and virtual meetings involved, it is estimated that using Teams freed up more than 2.9m hours for NHS workers across the country in the six months from April to September.
Mr Nayak added: “We are now focusing on benchmarking efficiencies as we digitalise front line and back-office processes and will look to expand our cost equivalent savings model as we roll out further NHSmail O365 productivity services"
Head of Collaboration Services for NHS Digital, Chris Parsons said: “This has been a gamechanger that enables health and care colleagues to connect, communicate and collaborate effortlessly. Having over 1.6m colleagues on the same secure communications platform is enabling massive improvements in how the whole system can work more effectively together.
“The pandemic caused a seismic shift in how teams operated and worked together across the health and care system, having access to collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams has enabled that transition to be smooth and effective.”