With the integration of new technology, the healthcare landscape is in a constant state of flux. By 2019, more than 50% of healthcare organizations will implement resources to support sharing real-world evidence across their companies.[1] BayCare, a not-for-profit health system in Florida, is ahead of the curve. The company integrated collaborative video technology to help connect 28,000 healthcare employees and physicians located at 15 hospitals and hundreds of care locations and offices across a four-county, metropolitan area.

Previously, the health system relied on written content, intranet and email to do the heavy lifting for its internal communications strategy. Then, in 2016, BayCare’s incoming, new president/CEO, Tommy Inzina, was looking for a fresh approach to connect with employees and physicians. A team consisting of members from information technology (IT) and corporate communications got together to brainstorm ideas and came up with using Office 365’s Microsoft Stream, a video technology application that allows users to share secure videos in real time across platforms. Microsoft Stream provided the health system with a more private option than other video platforms, but still offers similar experiences that users have come to expect, like the ability to like, comment, and search for content. At first, BayCare used Microsoft Stream primarily for leadership to communicate with employees and physicians. But it didn’t take long for the concept to take off in other areas.

Now, the communications team gets weekly requests to add videos on Microsoft Stream—internally branded as BayCare TV or BCTV. Departments have also asked if BCTV can be shown in emergency room and urgent care waiting areas, new-hire screening locations, and physician offices. Clinical educators have started using the platform to host “lunch and learn” training videos for employees who could not attend the in-person meeting. The health system also began using the platform to host videos telling the stories of patients and customers who benefitted from the organization’s dedication to community benefit and charity care. BayCare even added a channel dedicated to its canine cams created by GoPro cameras worn by therapy dogs at its hospitals. Recently, a division used BCTV to host spirit cheer videos recorded by employees, and the winning entry was decided by which one got the most “likes.”

Transforming culture through connected healthcare

When BayCare implemented Microsoft Stream, the original intention was to provide a new tool in the toolbox to help unify the culture of the entire organization. Ed Rafalski, chief strategy and marketing officer at BayCare, explains: “BayCare is a 20-year-old health system created from smaller health systems and hospitals, each of which has its own subculture, and we needed a singular culture. So, we needed a medium that was familiar and accessible to everyone.”

There is no doubt that employee engagement with Microsoft Stream has really caught on. “Since we started embedding videos, we have more than tripled our open rates for emails sent by our CEO to team members and management,” Rafalski said. “If there’s a big system-wide campaign that’s around the corner, the first thing that comes to mind is kicking off the initiative with a video on BCTV.” For example, nursing leadership wants to launch a company-wide safety campaign channel to better unify the culture of patient safety throughout BayCare.

Culture is definitely unified through the use of Microsoft Stream, but a secondary benefit is that employees are becoming engaged in technology in new ways. Once they realized that BCTV (Microsoft Stream) could be accessed on any mobile device outside the work network, they started asking about other ways they could use this technology to benefit their work. “What’s also been fun to watch is how team members, on their own, are discovering a lot of other innovative tools inside Office 365 that they never knew existed,” said Scott Patterson, BayCare’s chief technology officer. “They’re coming to us with ideas on how they can use Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Forms, for example, to collaborate across the organization and improve their team performance. With the implementation of video technology, users crave more connected healthcare, and they’re seeking it out on their own, which is innovative and exciting.”

The future of video technology at BayCare

Video technology at BayCare continues to expand as the employees embrace it and discover what they can do with it. Rafalski and Patterson have more channels in mind, more ways for employees to engage and share information. “We’d like to add an internal news channel — like the weekend news — so team members who are on vacation or busy with other things never feel like they’re missing anything because they’ll be able to tune in and catch up using a short weekend segment summary. We’d also like to use it to engage and inform our credentialed physicians, especially those in our clinically integrated network,” Rafalski said. There are also talks about adding customer-facing channels—for people in waiting rooms and emergency departments. A customer channel on BCTV would be a great way to connect with patients, build trust, and keep them engaged while they wait for services, he said.

For other healthcare companies hoping to leverage video technology in the future, Rafalski has this advice: “Think bigger about video than just a more modern communication medium. For us, BCTV has evolved into this unexpectedly powerful, multi-purpose platform to drive employee engagement and human connection, and virally transform our culture.”

Not only have the videos started connecting the employees in the company, but they’re giving people face time with each other. Video technology allows people to feel like they get to know a person much more than an email or even a phone call can achieve. “They can see facial expressions and mannerisms, witness gestures and inflection,” Patterson said. “They can get a sense of higher-ups in the organization, which makes them feel more invested in their jobs and in the company. As we move into a more technology-focused healthcare system, which has the connotation of taking away a human-focus, anything that can keep employees feeling connected is a good thing.”

[1] https://www.idc.com/research/viewtoc.jsp?containerId=US41114417