Laying the groundwork six years ago with Microsoft 365
Arkin and Rapid Circle’s partnership began six years ago when Rapid Circle helped Arkin deploy Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) in response to changing workplace expectations. Together, they built a strategy for a modern workplace and a cloud platform for innovation.
“To achieve our high standards, we need digital workplace tools for our administrators and practitioners to work together more efficiently. That’s why we chose Microsoft 365,” says Michiel Kooper, Chief Information Officer at Arkin. “It’s a future-proof platform that’s easy to connect to our client-related applications, and it offers the security and privacy we require.”
Innovating over the years
Since deploying Microsoft 365, Rapid Circle has helped Arkin accelerate their digital transformation and adapt to challenges in many ways, implementing solutions for healthcare, collaboration, data analytics, and medical record sharing.
Rapid Circle has also supported the development of productivity and budgeting dashboards in Power BI. Now, rather than sharing different versions of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets via email, Arkin managers can look at Power BI dashboards to easily review financial data and budgets, ensuring that practitioners complete treatment protocols in compliance with funding regulations. “We face the challenge of continuing to provide care under growing funding pressures and a shortage of qualified personnel,” says Kooper. “We share Power BI dashboards with our practitioners so they can review client schedules and fill in any gaps to accommodate more clinical appointments. Practitioners also gain insight from the dashboards to make sure they have completed the data required to receive accurate funding for their services.”
The secure workplace
To ensure that Arkin’s transition to a cloud workplace did not compromise the safety of its information, Rapid Circle helped secure Arkin’s newly remote workforce with Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection. “Going to the cloud, we wanted to work anyplace, anytime, and anywhere without compromising privacy,” says Fred Pietersma, Chief Information Security Officer at Arkin. “Microsoft 365 has the security tools to enable that avant-garde way of working.”
To enable employees to securely access company data on their own devices, Arkin uses Microsoft Intune. “We use Intune for mobile app management, and we created Microsoft Entra conditional access policies,” says Pietersma. “For end users, adding security to protect work data on personal devices is a seamless experience that takes a few minutes using the intuitive enrollment process. Anyone accessing the network from outside Arkin must use multifactor authentication, so we feel more secure, even during these unusual times.”
Taking care of the vulnerable, virtually, with Microsoft Teams
One of the most important solutions that Arkin and Rapid Circle have implemented recently has been Microsoft Teams, part of Microsoft 365. Not only does Arkin rely on Microsoft Teams to improve communication among its offices, clinics, practices, and departments, Teams also helps the entire organization collaborate more efficiently. With Microsoft Teams, Arkin employees can chat with colleagues and patients, conduct video meetings, and store and edit documents all in one place.
“What makes Arkin unique is the connection across our 12 specialties that ensures continuity of care,” explains Kooper. “Microsoft Teams provides a platform that adds to this culture of collaboration, so our care plans are even more integrated and effective.”
Now, in the wake of COVID-19, Arkin is using Microsoft Teams to hold virtual counseling sessions with patients, enabling them to receive the treatment they need from the safety of their own home.
The future of healthcare has changed
Dr. van Rees Vellinga believes that Microsoft Teams brings some interesting nuances to counseling sessions that can enrich virtual appointments. “Working together over Microsoft Teams, I find a greater equality between the patient and the doctor,” he says. “I’m in my office, the patient is in their home, and we are just two people having a conversation. Patients are more relaxed in the familiarity of their homes, and that’s helpful when you want to get to the core of their problems as quickly as possible. I also gain new insight into a patient in a different environment than the office, which can provide clues to help me with therapy.”
Microsoft Teams makes it easy for Arkin patients to receive remote treatment—to attend virtual appointments, patients simply open a meeting invitation in their email. “Patients responded well to the flexibility of the solution,” says Dr. van Rees Vellinga. “There’s no stress having to get to my office, find a parking spot, and sit in a public waiting room. Microsoft Teams helps us deliver care where the patient is most comfortable.”
Looking forward to resuming his traditional practice after COVID-19, Dr. van Rees Vellinga sees the potential for keeping virtual sessions as part of his practice, likely for follow-up sessions or quick patient conversations.