Northwell Health deploys Microsoft Teams as secure messaging tool for clinical staff

The hospital network has also reduced time interacting with EMR systems thanks to a chatbot built on the collaboration platform.

Virtual security technology focuses on the Microsoft Teams logo as someone uses her mobile phone.
Thinkstock / Xresch / Microsoft

Northwell Health is connecting tens of thousands of hospital workers with Microsoft Teams, improving collaboration between clinical staff and reducing the time needed to access patient information.

Northwell, the largest hospital network in the New York City area with 23 hospitals and 800 outpatient facilities, began its deployment of Teams as a secure messaging platform at the start of last year.

The reason for choosing Teams was to provide staff with a secure and compliant method of text communication, enabling hospital workers to share protected health information (PHI) on mobile devices, said Northwell Health’s chief medical information officer, Michael Oppenheim.

“At the most basic level, we need to provide a solution to enable providers to be able to communicate in a HIPAA-compliant way,” said Oppenheim. “Standard SMS texting on a phone is not sufficiently secure, so we wanted to be able to provide folks with something they could use from a desk, from a handheld [device], and have ad hoc communications with each other.”

Video is another key use case for connecting clinical staff. “Right from within Teams you can communicate, you can launch a meeting, you can have a multi-way collaboration with video. It enables us to take what we wanted from a clinical collaboration perspective beyond just an ad hoc texting tool.”

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