How We Helped
Medicus IT assisted Advanced Urology by:
Strengthening staff collaboration
Improving communication between and from leadership
Supporting the implementation of a telehealth program
Helping establish secure, remote systems access
Educating and training staff
Like all healthcare organizations, Georgia-based Advanced Urology found itself scrambling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In mid-March, Georgia declared a public health emergency. By early April, a statewide shelter-in-place order was announced.
As these events unfolded, Advanced Urology’s leadership worked to reduce its number of on-site staff. Though some of the organization’s services needed to be scaled back, Advanced Urology wanted to largely keep its locations open to continue providing urgent and emergent care. The significant challenge facing Advanced Urology was how to avoid operational disruptions when some staff were still working at one of its many locations while others were working remotely. Fortunately, Advanced Urology had two aces up its sleeve: Medicus IT and Microsoft Teams, a communication and collaboration platform included in Microsoft Office 365.
Medicus IT migrated Advanced Urology to Office 365 in July 2018. Prior to the health crisis, the Teams platform was not widely used at Advanced Urology, says Grant Yatabe, the organization’s director of IT systems and integration. “The IT department was relying heavily on Teams for all of our communications and meetings, but otherwise it was pretty hit or miss as to who else was using it.”
Advanced Urology quickly transitioned about 80 of its 500-plus employees to remote work. Medicus IT assisted with ensuring these staff members could securely log in to Advanced Urology’s systems and access the applications and data required to fulfill their job responsibilities. Medicus IT also provided support to Advanced Urology’s IT department as it worked to get much of the organization, including remote staff, onto and comfortable with using Teams.
What’s great about Teams, says Yatabe, is that although it’s a powerful platform it’s pretty simple to use. “As people started to realize what they could actually do with Teams, usage exploded. I was surprised how easily our teams adapted to remote meetings. As an organization, we went from using Teams here and there to using it essentially for all communications.”
“As people started to realize what they could actually do with Teams, usage exploded. I was surprised how easily our teams adapted to remote meetings. As an organization, we went from using Teams here and there to using it essentially for all communications.”
Director of IT Systems and Integration
Advanced Urology leverages Teams in several other ways to help overcome challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. One of the most significant is through the implementation of new IT.
“Even in the wake of the craziness of everything happening outside and inside our organization, we still proceeded with implementing systems for our clinics and business offices,” says Heather Spyke, Advanced Urology's director of IT clinical systems. “We needed to provide user training on these systems. Unfortunately, we could not provide much of that training in person.”
Enter Teams. The IT department hosted multiple training sessions on the platform. “Folks could see us, hear us, see the system on their screen, and learn what needed to be done,” Spyke says. “We also recorded these sessions and then sent them out to be shared throughout the organization. Whether it’s group training or addressing individual questions about a system, we have used Teams as a training tool more extensively in the last several months. That has helped the organization continue with business as usual to whatever extent that may look like today.”
Microsoft Teams + Telehealth
Teams also helped Advanced Urology undertake a substantial project: implementing telehealth. In less than two weeks, Advanced Urology rolled out a telehealth and scheduling platform using a few different technologies. Now:
- Patients can schedule a telehealth appointment via Advanced Urology’s website.
- When appointments are scheduled, emails go out to inform all necessary parties.
- The appointments are added to physicians’ calendars.
Spyke says she expects Teams will play a critical role in Advanced Urology’s operations well after the pandemic is over. “We will continue to leverage Teams in ways that we have been but also want to increase user knowledge so that even when we do return to normal—whatever that may look like in the future—we don’t lose the functionality we’ve gained.”
Whether it’s expanding usage of Teams or addressing any other IT need, Yatabe says Advanced Urology will continue to benefit from Medicus IT’s healthcare focused knowledge and experience. “The Medicus IT team is always there for us for whatever we require, whether it’s technical assistance or acting as a sounding board for projects we’re planning. Their support is terrific. We’re a smaller team here at Advanced Urology. We have IT expertise, but it may not always be in the areas we need. Being able to rely on Medicus IT for that has helped us do a lot of things we would not have been able to do on our own.”
“We use the word ‘partner’ a lot when we’re talking about Medicus IT, and we expect that to continue.”
Director of IT Systems and Integration