Comms platform deployed to 40,000 SA Health staff in one week

By Shannon Jenkins

May 18, 2020

“It’s time to get things starTED!!”

Microsoft Teams has been deployed to more than 40,000 staff from South Australia’s health department in just one week.

Like other jurisdictions across the country, many public servants in SA have been working home during the coronavirus pandemic.

SA Health has made the collaboration platform available to all personnel to allow them to communicate effectively during the pandemic, the computer software giant announced on Monday.

The department has partnered with Microsoft and SA’s Office for ICT and Digital Government to deploy the technology, according to SA Health’s chief digital officer Bret Morris.

“SA Health and the Office for ICT and Digital Government was pleased to work with Microsoft to deploy Teams so clinicians and staff can access a secure, modern communication and collaboration platform from anywhere, at any time, and on any device including iOS and Android,” he said.

“At a time when many of our staff were required to work from home, the ease of use of Teams meant we needed to provide minimal training. Clinicians and staff recognised quickly adopted the technology, resulting in exponential growth in uptake; to 13,000 users in just two weeks.”

The technology is being rolled out as part of the standard operating environment for SA Health desktops and laptops. Users also have the option to access the platform on their Android or iOS devices.

The department has already seen staff undertake more than 400,000 chat messages and more than 25,000 through the platform.

Microsoft noted the department would continue to use the platform post-pandemic, and hoped to explore how Teams could be used in more clinical scenarios.

Earlier this month the state’s public sector employment commissioner Erma Ranieri voiced her support for flexible work arrangements to continue after the pandemic has concluded.

In an interview with Premier Steven Marshall, Ranieri asked:

“Post-COVID, to maintain work mobility, will you issue a cross-government directive to approve workers’ requests to continue to work from home [for example] one day a week?”

Marshall said he was “all for it”.

“To attract and retain the best people in SA into the public service, we’ve got to be flexible and I think we’ve moved a long way – but if there are things coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic that can help us to maintain that flexibility and be an employer of choice, then I’m all for it,” he said.

“We want the best, the brightest, the most dedicated people… we’ve got a great group but we’ve got to make sure we maintain that into then future, and that means the public service has to offer the types of arrangements that exist in the private sector – because that’s who we’re going to be competing with for talent.”

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