Virtual health is disrupting healthcare in a positive way. It’s helping health organizations to increase access and improve service levels by removing distance as a barrier to collaboration, health and care.

But what we’ve been hearing from health leaders is that they don’t want to have to buy multiple point solutions—that use disparate communication platforms—for their myriad virtual health needs. Because the IT costs add up and they end up with interoperability issues.

Your virtual health platform

What if health organizations could take advantage of one underlying virtual health platform that could be customized to meet their specific workflow needs—be that pre-op consultations, in-the-field emergency stroke intervention, mental health eVisits, care team collaboration, preventive outreach, and more?

To help health organizations accelerate the positive disruption that virtual health can offer, the Worldwide Health and Office teams at Microsoft set out to answer that question. The result of our efforts: The Microsoft Office 365 Virtual Health Templates, which we recently announced.

The open source templates make it easy for industry partners, developers, and enterprises to build customized virtual health solutions using Skype for Business as an extensible platform.

That means health organizations like yours can have tailored workflows for your various telecollaboration, telehealth and telemedicine services —all on one cloud-based productivity platform.

You can empower care teams to communicate with each other and their patients using web and mobile experiences that integrate presence, chat, audio, and video with customized clinical processes. And the experiences can be made available in many interfaces and even existing applications.

By using virtual health solutions from our partners that are powered by Skype for Business, you can benefit from economies of scale.

You don’t have to pay for overlapping productivity functionality—such as communication and collaboration features—across multiple virtual health applications. Instead, you can invest in your productivity platform once and then can have multiple solutions built from it. That can help you save money and speed development time. And if you already have Office 365 with Skype for Business Online—which many health organizations do—you can make the most of your existing infrastructure.

In other words, rather than piecing together disparate niche solutions, you can benefit from the interoperability and extensibility of one productivity platform for all your virtual health solutions—as well as other applications that use productivity features.

You can also be confident that your virtual health solutions can help you meet your privacy, compliance, and security needs because Skype for Business comes with a HIPAA business associates agreement.

By using solutions that work together, you can streamline administration and security across your infrastructure, meet your virtual health needs quickly—and reduce IT costs and complexity. And by doing so, you can accelerate the benefits of virtual health: providing better care to more people at lower costs.

At HIMSS17, it was exciting to see the interest in our partners that offer virtual solutions powered by Skype for Business such as RingMD, System C & MDLIVE.

To learn more and read about customers and partners that are already benefiting from our Virtual Health Templates read the Office team’s blog.

And please reach out with any questions or comments via email, Facebook, or Twitter.