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Counties embraces Teams

Tuesday, 12 May 2020  
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Picture: Brian Yow, health informatics fellow, Counties Manukau DHB editor Rebecca McBeth


Thousands of Counties Manukau Health staff are using Microsoft Teams to communicate and collaborate remotely.


Brian Yow, health informatics fellow, Counties Manukau DHB, says the northern region DHBs had been working for some time with healthAlliance on how to implement Microsoft Teams.


When Covid-19 hit, it provided an opportunity for digital transformation and remote working and the team was able to get executive approval and address any security issues in record time.


Yow will be presenting on the project during a free eHealthNews Live webinar, Technology solutions to help fight a pandemic, at 12.30pm on 21 May 2020.


He says that in order to roll out the solution, the hospital had to upscale its wi-fi, distribute smartphones to staff and refresh its Bring Your Own Device policy.


Counties Manukau had around 7500 licenses for Microsoft Teams which covered almost all the DHB’s staff.


Yow says there was strong support from senior leads within the organisation who recognised the need for a 24/7 mobile communications platform during a pandemic.


Once in place, they were able to push messages out to specific teams or the entire staff.


Groups were also set up to allow departments and multi-disciplinary teams to communicate securely, replacing unsecure tools such as What’s App.


Yow says use of Teams “took off like wildfire”, as it allowed staff to instantly message or call each other via their mobile devices from work or home.


“In the first week around 800 people jumped on and in the second week, double that,” he tells


“Because you can have any staff member on any device it’s all been seamless and it’s secure.”


The DHB is now moving towards a more structured roll-out of Teams and other Microsoft tools such as Office 365 and OneDrive are also being implemented.


“With Covid-19 we are in a brave new world and we need these functionalities to keep delivering healthcare,” he says.


Yow will be joined on the 21 May webinar by Elaine Ryan, front of house manager Canterbury DHB; Nancy Beale, executive health IT leader Beale and Associates LIC; and Joe Curtin, regional sales manager 1Call, who will present on how hospital call centres were able to create custom guided workflows specific to Covid-19 procedures.


Register for the free webinar here.


To watch Brian’s presentation in the eHealthNews LIVE showcase go to:


If you would like to provide feedback on this news story, please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.


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