Microsoft 365 Portland Street Medicine

Improving Healthcare for the Homeless with Microsoft 365 and Teams

Enter Centric: Diagnosing the Problems and Finding Solutions

Because Centric is actively exploring the delivery of valuable innovations within the healthcare industry, the company’s Enterprise Collaboration team and the National Healthcare Practice eagerly began meeting with PSM to discuss their challenges. Centric’s first goal was to collaborate with PSM to create an innovative and collaborative space for healthcare providers, volunteers and staff, primarily through the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform.

Over a three-month period, Centric helped PSM migrate its current platform, GSuite, to Microsoft 365 and to install and implement Teams throughout the organization. Over the course of the engagement, Centric delivered:

  • A governance training session for Microsoft Teams
  • Best practices for driving and sustaining Teams adoption
  • Purchasing logistics and assistance in migrating from GSuite to Microsoft 365
  • A high-level roadmap for expanding Teams to leverage additional features and capabilities
  • A forum for Centric-PSM Teams development
  • Provider feedback discussions
  • Exploration of potential improvements to the process and technology
  • Recommendations for next steps

Centric’s Microsoft 365 solution solved many problems for PSM. For example, the organization lacked tools to manage the complex care that homeless populations require. PSM needed to build its capacity for real-time care coordination, allow its teams serving clients “on the street” to communicate more easily with each other, and provide better file-sharing capabilities to employees.

One challenge was that PSM still relied on paper charts when serving clients. They had explored e-charting tools before their Centric engagement, but those solutions often included data points not relevant to homeless populations. As a result, they required extensive customization by PSM’s already overtaxed IT staff. The organization needed a system that would allow it to grow over time while continuing to innovate without encountering technical limitations.

To address these challenges, Centric helped PSM to build user-friendly Microsoft Forms for capturing patient data. The forms — accessible through Teams, sharable and stored in a central, cloud-based repository — allowed PSM to capture the relevant information they needed more quickly and accurately, without the distraction of unnecessary fields.

Centric is now discussing leveraging Microsoft Dynamics, another part of the Microsoft 365 suite, to add even more functionality for care management and to continue improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of PSM’s services. Centric is also evaluating Salesforce Health Cloud, a customer relationship management tool for the healthcare and life sciences industries, as an additional technical resource for PSM.

“The direct connection with Microsoft, the ongoing support, and affirmation is innovative. We would not have gotten that from anyone else. Centric’s vision, combined with our vision, is the piece that’s unmatched.”

Molly Pringle, Executive Director, Portland Street Medicine

The Results: Better Client Care and a Path to the Future of Healthcare

To illustrate the real-world impact of Microsoft 365 and Teams on PSM, consider the case of one of the organization’s clients, “Joey.”

Joey first presented to PSM workers with a skin infection. They entered the information on a Microsoft form and encouraged him to seek more intensive care. The next time they encountered Joey, they were able to access his history through the Microsoft form, allowing them to follow his case better and ensure he is getting the care he needs.

This not only allows PSM to provide more consistent care, but it also provides data capture that enables them to identify trends among the population they serve. For example, over the next three months after treating Joey, PSM documented that soft-tissue issues such as Joey’s comprise 60 percent of their cases.

Now that PSM is using Microsoft 365 and Teams, the organization looks forward to continued innovation among its workers as they explore the tools’ many features. As one of the first deployments of Teams for mobile workers helping transient populations, Centric’s PSM project also provides new opportunities for using Teams in healthcare settings, whether traditional or nontraditional.

These novel applications of Microsoft Teams will become increasingly important to many groups of mobile healthcare providers, from first responders to vaccine clinic workers and beyond.

The key to any great partnership is collaboration. You bring your challenges, and we bring consulting capabilities and healthcare expertise.

Together, we can help you make a difference in your patients’ lives.

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