New Microsoft Teams Enhancements and New Partnerships for Healthcare Industry

Microsoft announced on Tuesday new features for its Teams platform aimed at how health care workers interact and communicate with patients.

The first will allow patients to book on-demand appointments with their provider through the Microsoft Bookings app in Teams. The new feature, which will hit preview in April, is an extension of its waiting room and queuing features and aims to provide a seamless way for users to schedule an appointment for any available time slot.

Microsoft said it and other features it's bringing to improve the day-to-day routines of health care workers were borne out of an increased demand for telemedicine options over the last few years.

"We've seen the adoption of virtual appointments in healthcare skyrocket during the pandemic, and we continue to see outstanding growth," said Emma Williams, corporate vice president of Modern Work Transformation. "It's an area that's here to stay, with use cases that are core to the future of healthcare and many other key industries."

On the provider side, users can gather patient triage information in Teams during a virtual appointment, thanks to new integration hooks with Microsoft Forms and the Microsoft Bookings app. It will also collect and display in real-time data taken from patient-facing forms and questionnaires.

Microsoft also announced that an expansion of its automated SMS appointment reminder feature in Microsoft Bookings will extend to the United Kingdom when it hits preview in April. Currently, that feature is only available in the United States.

Also in preview now is a new feature that allows providers to access compiled analytics from a virtual appointment, including data from SMS responses, appointment duration and virtual lobby wait times through the Microsoft Teams Admin Center. And to speed up the efficiency of virtual appointments, a new device test feature will allow patients to test their devices for compatibility before the appointment begins (currently available through the Microsoft Teams EHR connector).

Microsoft also unveiled two new partnerships with Cerner and Teladoc to bring Teams and its related health care features to the two companies' health care-related technologies, including health record systems used by many clinics.

"At Microsoft, we're committed to supporting the healthcare workforce by designing products that can help improve the lives of those on the frontline, and the patients they serve," said Williams. "To do this, we're working on products to connect care teams more seamlessly, provide solutions to efficiently manage and motivate care teams, and empower organizations to adapt to a dynamic and rapidly changing healthcare environment."

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.