Better care, happy employees: the cloud workplace enters the hospital

To remain an attractive employer, you need modern digital tools as a hospital. A modern digital workplace brings together all the data and functionality that employees need, but brings major changes and requires new skills and a new way of working. Not every caregiver has the time, the sense, and the skills to deal with that, so support and adoption are essential.

Gallup and Gartner studies show how important the employee experience is to your organisation. But 15% of employees worldwide say they feel involved in the work and 13% are satisfied with the employee experience. That costs organisations a lot of money: about 16% of the salary of every uninvolved employee. While engaged employees have great advantages. For example, employees involved resign 12 times less often.

Especially that last figure is of course important for your hospital. Because finding healthcare staff is difficult, so you want to prevent people from leaving. But how do you keep employees engaged? And how do you offer them a good experience?

These are, of course, questions to which technology is always only part of the answer. But technology is certainly a factor that can contribute to a positive experience at work for healthcare professionals. The crux is that you use technology in such a way that it saves you people time and makes their lives easier. But that’s not all. Because you have to facilitate and guide people well with every technical change. If you don’t, they only see the ‘hassle’ of the change and not the value.

An extra challenge: you employ people who lack basic digital skills and therefore have major problems with new technology. But you also employ people who want to go faster and have higher expectations of their digital workplace. To keep that last group with you, you have to move forward. But in order not to lose that first group, you have to guide them very well.

The right tool, the right help

Ultimately, this is the key to attractive employment practices: giving your people the right tools and teaching them to work with them in their own way and at their own pace. A healthcare professional wants to provide the best possible care and be as little concerned as possible with peripheral matters. A workplace that speeds up time-consuming tasks or even takes them away from your professionals altogether helps, provided that you continue to work on the involvement, satisfaction and personal development of each individual employee.

Hanneke Pastoor, our team lead Adopt & Embrace, sees that there is still a lot to improve in digital working in healthcare on a daily basis: “Healthcare workers complain about slow virtual desktops, the effort it takes to get to patient information and logging in to multiple apps. It’s often unclear how things work, and why. Users don’t care about the technical distinction between application A and application B. They don’t understand why they have to type the same thing twice, why they have to get information from two different screens or why they are harassed twice with the same subject. If you want to become an attractive employer and make employees happy, you have to get to work.”

A modern workplace for the hospital: challenges and benefits

At Rapid Circle, we have a lot of experience in implementing the modern workplace. But that experience can’t be extended one-on-one to a hospital. Firstly, digital transitions in hospitals are often more difficult, because vital systems – especially the EHR – do not easily integrate with modern infrastructure. Secondly, management is, of course, right to focus on data security and patient safety and there is therefore a great need for guarantees in this area. The installation of these guarantees often results in extra recurring actions for employees.

Healthcare workers are also different from other knowledge workers because they don’t sit at a desk all day. In fact, we want them to spend as little time as possible in front of a screen. And because their work process is the most important process of the hospital, you have to tailor many things to the digital workplace.

Sometimes these factors together create an atmosphere of ‘it doesn’t work anyway’. But it can be done. We have seen this, for example, at Gelre Hospitals. In the end, you don’t have much choice, because healthcare really has to change to remain attractive to employees. And a modern digital workplace ultimately has many advantages for healthcare professionals:

  • Transfer can be done anywhere. Transfer takes a lot of time. And it has to be done properly, because the safety of the patient often depends on a good transfer of information. With a modern, mobile workplace, you no longer have to come to a computer room or meeting as a doctor or nurse and can arrange transfers from anywhere in the hospital or even beyond.
  • No more emailing schedules around. Planning holidays in an Excel sheet that is emailed around? We need to do better. By putting schedules and other documents in the cloud, everyone can access them at the same time and everyone looks at the right version.
  • Collaborate on documents. Writing a report together no longer means that you also have to sit together at a computer.
  • From newsletters to Teams. Keeping the team informed and working on engagement are easier if you can reach everyone at the same time.
  • Fewer workplaces are needed. But if you need one, one is more often available.
  • Security and privacy are getting better. Writing patient data on a piece of paper. It is not allowed according to the GDPR, but it still happens a lot. Because there is no practical alternative. A modern workplace makes your entire care process safer and protects you from data breaches.

Apart from each other, these innovations may not sound revolutionary, but as Hanneke puts it: “It’s always a few minutes of profit, but they add up.”

Jurrit Wilhelmus, productivity specialist at Microsoft, notices that hospitals also see these benefits: “The staff shortage in healthcare has been going on for a long time. There is an increasing awareness that just ‘more people’ is not the solution. You need technology to work better, more efficiently and location independent.”

The time saved by working smarter is just the beginning. A modern cloud workplace is the basis for innovations that go much further. An important example is the migration of the EHR to the cloud, a change that is necessary for setting up a data platform and for better chain collaboration. This is really only possible if you first modernise your workplace. Investments in workplace, infrastructure and digital skills that you make now will pay off later, because you can innovate faster.

“Teams will eventually become the central place,” says Wilhelmus. “Working together, chatting, viewing data, calling and responding to calls come together there. As a hospital, you can use data to give more context to tasks and calls and you enable consultation and remote care.”

One of the technologies that will eventually yield a lot in the future is AI. It is also a technology that must be introduced in a very dosed way and with a lot of guidance. Users in healthcare will only accept AI if they understand what is happening and are included in the process. Wilhelmus nevertheless sees opportunities: “The rise of AI has really started and will save a lot of time. Every minute you don’t spend looking back at a meeting, reading and writing emails and entering information into the EHR is a minute you can spend on care again.

It’s not an IT project

A major pitfall when implementing a modern workplace is to see it as an IT project. Of course, the project has an important technical component, but involvement of, for example, HR is just as important. They can give digital skills a place in job profiles, organise courses and help people move forward through the use of ‘digicoaches‘.

By making the human side of the roll-out of a new workplace more important than the technical side, you prevent changing too much too quickly and people dropping out as a result. Healthcare professionals are extremely busy and therefore have little time and desire to delve into digital matters. It is important to include them in changes and make it clear that this is an investment that will be necessary sooner or later. Guidance and change management are therefore essential.

Jurrit Wilhelmus is optimistic about the adoption of a new digital workplace in healthcare, provided that the employee experience remains paramount: “The most important thing is that you let technology work for employees and not against them. Make sure they can work mobile. Automate tasks for them. Make it easier. And if you make changes that have an impact, such as multifactor authentication or Microsoft Teams, ensure proper adoption.”

The modern workplace and your infrastructure

Of course, a new workplace also has an impact on your infrastructure and data centre. But here too you can often set the pace yourself. Ideally, you use the step to a digital workplace as the starting point of your cloud transition. But you don’t have to do everything at once. For example, you can manage your mail server, mobile phones and laptops from the cloud, while your data center remains on-premises for the time being. Some hospitals make the choice to first give the facility staff a new workplace. For example, often 20% of people can already switch to the modern workplace and an organisation can get a feel for the possibilities.

We now also have a lot of experience in combining the Microsoft cloud and Citrix VDI environments. We modernise and optimise them to work well with Teams, Viva and other collaboration tools.

This reduces the management pressure on your IT department, makes your environment more secure and allows you to bring innovations to your users faster in the future. This also makes you more attractive as an employer for IT professionals.

eBook: The Future of Healthcare starts now

Discover how a technological transformation can help your hospital overcome challenges in the coming years. This eBook explores the cloud as the innovation platform for shaping the future of healthcare, handling data and applications differently, and future-proofing your workplace. Expert insights from Microsoft, E-mergo, Weolcan, and Rapid Circle show how their products can shape the healthcare of the future in your hospital.

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Wilco Turnhout

Co-Founder (NL/EU)

Andrew Fix

Chief Technology Officer (AU/NZ)