NSW Health has equipped more than 100,000 staff with Microsoft Teams since the federal and state government ramped up their public health response to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
The department’s digital arm, eHealth NSW, on Monday said all of its more than 140,000 staff now had access to the unified collaboration platform, as well as Skype for Business.
When the government’s pandemic shutdown began in mid-March, this figure stood at 34,000 - or less than a third of its total workforce.
Like most other workplaces, NSW Health, including local health districts and speciality health networks, have been directed to work from home where possible to limit the spread of the virus.
Clinicians have also been using Skype for Business to conduct face-to-face consultations virtually where in-person appointments have been disrupted.
This has also allowed clinicians who have needed to self-isolate to continue working.
eHealth NSW conference, collaboration and wireless program manager Jason Matthews said the rollout had enabled clinicians to continue to communicate remotely during the pandemic.
“What it’s doing is enabling NSW Health staff to work and collaborate remotely and safely, which during a global pandemic has never been more crucial,” he said.
Service delivery executive director Farhoud Sallimi said the surge in demand had been met by leveraging the agency’s “Amazon Web Services environment to scale out our Pexip capacity”.
Pexip is an enterprise videoconferencing platform. The vendor is based in Norway.
Early this year, eHealth NSW began brokering public cloud service from both AWS and Microsoft Azure in part to help scale up services in a more timely fashion.
Almost half a million direct person-to-person calls took place on Teams and Skype for Business in April - almost 25 times more calls than in April 2019.
More than 275,000 virtual meetings with a total of one million attendees also took place, compared with 18,000 meetings between 66,000 attendees the year before.
Other state health departments have also introduced Teams at lightning speed in response to the pandemic.
SA Health armed more than 40,000 of its staff with the platform in just a single week to ensure communication, particularly between clinical teams, could continue during the coronavirus crisis.