‘Seismic shift’ towards digital chat app among NHS staff during pandemic

A “seismic shift” towards digital chat platforms among NHS staff has been hailed during the pandemic.

Usage of Microsoft Teams has soared among medical personnel since the software was made available across the NHS in March.

More than 63.3 million messages have been sent since March 23, with almost four million sent in the last full week of September alone.

The platform allows colleagues to make video and audio calls as well as send instant messages to one another and use other collaborative tools.

NHS Digital said a total of 13.2 million meetings have been carried out via the software, which was rolled out to help staff communicate more efficiently.

Chris Parsons, who runs NHSmail at NHS Digital, said: “The use of remote messaging and meeting technology like MS Teams has proven to be essential for NHS organisations during the pandemic.

“Many doctors and nurses have had to work remotely to provide effective care, especially to those patients who have been self-isolating, and technology like this can help make it possible.

“There has been a seismic shift in how organisations work over the last few months and these figures show that the appetite for digital collaboration has increased exponentially over that time, becoming part of the fabric of working life on the front lines.”

University College London Hospitals (UCLH) added: “Teams has brought our health professionals together, not only to help us abide by the current restrictions on meeting sizes, but as a practical tool to allow clinicians from many different specialities and departments as well as our multi-disciplinary teams to work together remotely.

“This has allowed for fantastic teaching for junior doctors, has been ideal for allowing input from staff at multiple sites at once and, most importantly, helped us to provide a high level of care for our patients.”