Staff at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust are using Microsoft Teams on their mobile phones to quickly find out who has Covid-19 and who does not.
A software application has been created by Microsoft partner Medxnote for use in Teams and has cut the amount of time it takes doctors, nurses and specialists to discover if someone has the virus from hours to minutes.
Patients with negative test results can then be moved out of isolation units, where they are routinely placed if they show symptoms, and onto a ward, freeing up space for new people arriving at the hospital.
Previously, healthcare staff would check a desktop computer on a ward or in an office every few hours to see if test results had come in.
Dr Ashwin Pinto, a neurologist at the hospital, said: “We can now give doctors and nurses real-time data. I can get Covid-19 results, which come up on my phone instantly as soon as they are released by the lab.
“We can know where that patient is, so we can make sure they go to the right care environment and that staff are safe as well. That’s been transformational.”
The trust has also has a notification channel to alert everyone if a staff member is found to have coronavirus. The application is being used by healthcare staff to communicate and share information, even when they are not in the hospital.
Doctors and nurses can also use Teams to alert colleagues instantly if they are needed in a specific area of the hospital.
Similar bots are being used in NHS Foundation Trusts across the country, including Liverpool University Hospitals and Mid Cheshire NHS Foundation Trust.
All NHS staff were given free access to Teams in March 2020 to support them as they work. The roll-out of the software was accelerated to help NHS teams better communicate and collaborate around their responses to Covid-19, and counter the increased risks associated with the virus.