Sint-Trudo Hospital updates its communication & collaboration platform with Microsoft Teams

Sint-Trudo Hospital updates its communication & collaboration platform with Microsoft Teams

Faced with an aging phone exchange and a collaboration platform ((Skype for Business) with limited functionality, Sint-Trudo Hospital decided to invest in a new, future-oriented communication & collaboration platform. Working with Inetum-Realdolmen, the hospital gradually migrated to Microsoft Teams. Inetum-Realdolmen also developed some useful PowerApps for the 350 Samsung smartphones that will replace the DECT phones by the end of 2021.

Sint-Trudo Hospital is a regional hospital serving the area surrounding Sint-Truiden. Its broad range of care helps it to meet the needs of patients in the region of south-west Limburg and southern Flemish Brabant. This independent healthcare facility has 310 beds and employs more than a thousand people with around 140 doctors.
 

Need for digitization

"Within a hospital, communication is essential in order to ensure problem-free provision of services," stresses Daniël Loos, ICT Manager at the Sint-Trudo Hospital. "To use a cliche: it can save lives." Operational reliability and accessibility are absolute priorities, as well as mobile access to data such as patient case notes, procedures, applications, etc. 

Although the traditional analog telephone infrastructure has always performed very reliably, the functional limitations of this technology were becoming more and more restrictive. In addition, Sint-Trudo was still using an analog DECT telephone exchange that will reach its announced official end-of-life by the end of 2022. "So it was a good idea to replace this with a digital alternative during 2021," explains Daniël Loos. The same was true of Skype for Business, the institution's collaboration and video conference platform: "Microsoft terminated support for this at the end of 2020."

Teams 

Within their ICT policy, the hospital made a strategic decision to work with M365. Together with the Microsoft partner Inetum-Realdolmen, Sint-Trudo selected Microsoft Teams as the telephony platform for the future. "Something else that influenced this choice, and to some extent made it simpler, was that by using Microsoft Teams we could rapidly provide a solution for our employees to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic," comments Daniël Loos. 

Initially Sint-Trudo migrated its Skype for Business solution to Microsoft Teams, with the aim of also using Teams to facilitate both internal and external telephony at the hospital. Inetum-Realdolmen then developed some apps on the Microsoft PowerApp platform for the hospital: on-call services and a phone directory. 

Mobile applications

"We need to be able to reach certain employees, such as the members of the crisis cell, at all times wherever they are. But with the analog DECT phones they were only accessible while inside the hospital," explains Daniël Loos. "With smartphones we can easily extend this accessibility, including beyond the walls of the hospital. This increases the traction and continuity of our service provision. In addition, we can now enable the secure use of personal smartphones. The smartphones come with a contract for mobile data and voice, so communication is still possible if Teams is not available. Finally, another important benefit is that applications can also run on a smartphone, such as email, calendar, the hospital's procedure portal, the KWS companion app, etc."

One of the handy applications that Sint-Trudo developed in collaboration with Inetum-Realdolmen is an internal phone directory. Employees can use this to look up the contact details of their colleagues in the many services and departments on their smartphone at any time. "For on-call services we also developed a PowerApp. This way, our employees always have access from anywhere to the various on-call services within our hospital," explains Daniël Loos. "Employees also use Siilo on their smartphones, an app for healthcare providers, through which they can securely share information about patients in a GDPR compliant manner."

Daniël Loos

"Microsoft Teams offers an integrated platform to support collaboration and communication between employees. It also has the major benefit that it is available on our employees' smartphones."

Daniël Loos | Manager ICT @ Sint-Trudo Hospital

Quality of service

The telephony project fits well with the Sint-Trudo Hospital's strategy of seeking to simplify its ICT environment. "We have purchased 350 Samsung smartphones," they told us. "Employees and doctors often had two different devices in their pockets: a DECT phone and their own smartphone. Now it is just one device. What's more, you can also call from a laptop using Teams." Employees now receive alerts on their smartphones that they used to receive on their DECT devices, either via the hospital's network or via 4G. This allows hospital employees to respond faster, which helps to improve the quality of service. The hospital was also equipped with an extensive network of antennae to ensure indoor coverage for mobile operators.

Flyer Sint-Trudo

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