3 Ways Tech Can Better Enable Connected Care

COVID-19 has transformed health care and social services. Today, healthcare professionals are looking to make better use of limited resources and manage backlogs of care. They also seek to work in multidisciplinary teams, breaking down silos to better coordinate care. Check out Microsoft for Public Health and Human Services to see how healthcare providers are using new and innovative ways of working to enable better outcomes for citizens. Here are three ways technology can support connected care in a post-COVID-19 world.

1. Help prevent escalation of care needs

Prevention is a prominent theme in many health and social protection plans. Data and AI can help manage demand and help patients avoid escalating care needs. Additionally, some care providers like Kendal Care Homes are using mixed reality to better enable in-home care. Let’s say Elena is bedridden and suffers from skin conditions such as leg swelling and rashes. Elena’s doctor can work remotely with the home nurse to help and treat Elena, see what the nurse sees remotely, and blend Elena’s medical information virtually into one view. Elena’s doctor can ask her questions about her health, make a diagnosis and advise the home nurse on effective treatment. Elena and her healthcare providers can speak with her doctor in real time, while the healthcare provider is able to maintain their strict pandemic safety measures.

Home care aide assisting elderly woman with medication

In the very near future, the virtual worlds offered by the metaverse will open up a range of possibilities and experiences. The metaverse represents a convergence of the physical and digital worlds. As these spaces come together, they create new opportunities. For example, Elena’s doctors will be able to collaborate with specialists around the world and participate remotely in online 3D training. The metaverse will allow a virtual space to establish relationships between patients, students, volunteers and professionals.

2. Add capacity for frontline services

Governments face a strong demand for services. How do they find time to focus on what matters most to residents? Technology can help, and with tools like low-code and no-code apps, it’s easier to use than ever. Microsoft has helped healthcare and social care providers leverage technology to streamline clinical models. Applications that would have taken months to build using custom code were put into production in weeks. For example, the Surrey and Borders Partnership (SABP) NHS Foundation Trust quickly developed a bespoke app to manage staff flu vaccinations. The solution includes two versions of a Microsoft Power Apps application: one for clinicians to manage walk-in vaccinations and another for employees to schedule appointments. Both versions have replaced the traditional, and much less efficient, paper-based processes that have been used for many years. The employee app had the added benefit of providing access to a wealth of vaccination information to enable more empowered decision-making.

“Having more knowledgeable staff contributed significantly to better vaccination uptake, which our staff were able to monitor in real time via an integrated Power BI dashboard. After deploying our Power Apps solution, we saw frontline staff vaccination rates increase from less than 50% to over 90%.—Sarah McFarlane, Policy Coordinator at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

3. Enable coordinated care

People often have to go to multiple health and care providers. Navigating through this virtual address book and knowing who to contact and when can be daunting. Bristol City Council has leveraged technology to provide a single view of the resident. For example, Melanie is a busy social worker who received a referral for concern about a child. Thanks to technology, she can now see an overall picture of the child and understand what other teams or agencies are involved with this family. Melanie is now empowered to make an informed assessment of the seriousness of these concerns and how best to coordinate care.

child holding his mother's hand

Conclusion

Many care and health providers are leveraging technology to better respond to global crises. At Microsoft, we recognize the value of technology to enable person-centered care through more efficient systems, faster solutions, and a more dynamic way to get help. Responsible use of data and technology can help us meet the challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. It will create opportunities for the safety, well-being and prosperity of communities around the world. Find out how Microsoft can help you strengthen your services today.

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