Microsoft has made its unified communication and collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams, available for free to NHS workers to help the health service operate efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The platform combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage and application integration. Microsoft said it was providing Teams to NHS staff gratis so they “can quickly communicate with colleagues during the Coranavirus outbreak”.
Key workers will be able to use instant messaging and audio and video calls to share advice and updates on their patients, wherever they are.
Ian Phoenix, director of technology at NHS Digital, said: “Technology is key to supporting patients who are self-isolating and makes sure they have the information they need and access to medical support and advice. For doctors and NHS staff this means that working remotely becomes much easier and more practical.”
NHS Digital is rolling Teams out all NHSmail users between the 16th and 20th of March.
NHS organisations that are not using the NHSmail system will also be given free access to Teams if they apply directly to Microsoft. They will also have access to NHS Digital’s NHSmail support site to help them roll-out Teams.
The NHS has said Teams will be protected and monitored within its Secure Boundary – the security solution run by the healthcare provider that offers protection against security threats.
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Cindy Rose, chief executive of Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft is fully committed to assisting the NHS at this incredibly challenging time.
“The use of Microsoft Teams will ensure the hardworking doctors, nurses and support staff across all NHS organisations have the collaboration tools they need to carry out their vital work. We are hugely appreciative of their ongoing efforts to tackle COVID-19 and will continue to provide support however best we can.”