I’ve been writing this blog since October of 2005. Regular readers know that I am a huge proponent for Information Communication Technology (ICT) as a means to improve care team communication and collaboration, including that with our patients. Over the years, you’ll find any number of posts where I have profiled innovative health systems and clinics that have been using Microsoft solutions to improve the ways care teams do their work. Although amazing progress has been made, it has always been the standout, “early adopter” customers leading the way. For a variety of reasons, a perfect fit between available technology and organizational readiness has remained just out of reach for the mainstream. That, my friends, is about to change. It’s not just my opinion but that of objective ICT industry experts who have some very flattering things to say about Microsoft’s newest generation of solutions. Want proof? Read these excerpts from an article by InfoWorld writer, Brian Chee, in his April 20th post, “Microsoft Lync 2010 - Unified communications comes of age”.
“Every once in a very long while, I get to review a product that strikes me as a stepping stone toward the future. Microsoft Lync 2010 combines instant messaging, VoIP calling, live meetings, and videoconferencing, but it's more than the sum of these parts. Although Lync integrates with almost any PBX, it puts the PC at the center of communications so effectively that it could send your current phone system packing.”
“Lync 2010 is a product that has been a long time coming, and it finally fulfills a promise I've been tracking for nearly a decade. Lync gives me more control over voice communications than my PBX, and it handles video better than my break-the-bank videoconferencing system. It pays attention to privacy, provides ways to separate my private life from work, and reduces the requirement to work from a real office. For companies that no longer provision offices on a one-to-one basis, but make use of "hot desks," Lync is a natural fit.”
“Don't even think about shopping for a new enterprise phone system without adding Lync to the list of candidates. Take a good hard look, and encourage your organization to download the trial and take it for a ride. This is the first UC system I've worked with that feels like UC should.”
It is clearly time for healthcare to move beyond paper, phone and fax in keeping care teams on the same page - not only amongst themselves but also with their patients. Unified Communications technology has matured. Your healthcare organization can now experience the connectivity made possible when web presence, messaging, mail, voice and video come together in a seamless experience that is completely integrated with the ways you want to work and live. Oh, and did I mention Microsoft Lync can save you a lot of money as well?
Be watching for compelling stories from organizations just like yours in the months ahead. Here is just one example.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft