Now that most of us are back at work following what was hopefully a very merry festive season, we'll be looking forward to using the new devices some of us may have got at Christmas.

There is no doubt that one of the current hot topics amongst healthcare professionals is IT flexibility at work. With ever more powerful and portable personal devices lying around the home, the desire to take them into work and have them seamlessly connect with work's IT systems is very popular, and why not?

This new method of 'flexible working' has certainly caught the imagination in hospitals, clinics and doctor's surgeries across the UK. This idea is supported by new cloud-based platforms making collaboration tools increasingly affordable. But flexibility isn't only about devices and slick platforms, it's also about fast and secure access to data for employees and, in some cases, for patients. A good example of a healthcare organisation improving patient safety and staff productivity is Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. Check out their case study here

Socially engaged

The sight of doctors carrying tablet devices around hospitals is becoming commonplace in some hospitals, though this tends to be for diagnostic and note-keeping reasons. Certainly this new tidal wave-like era of social media has made communication between hospitals and their patients much easier. Some hospitals have installed free WiFi for patients in the wards meaning hospitals can, if they choose, keep in touch with patients on an even more personal basis than ever before. This is surely another positive about having a device which can connect anywhere around the workplace and access valuable information.

The technology exists to make flexible working easy but it's clear there is still a cultural battle to be fought in healthcare organisations across the country.

To read more about flexible working in healthcare, please take a look at our flexible working web pages. Plus Microsoft recently launched a new device called Surface - to read how it will benefit healthcare, please visit our Worldwide Health blog.

By Howard

Content and Communities Manager, Microsoft Public Sector