Microsoft’s CityNext initiative was created to change cities in four major ways: they would become modern, safer, more educated, and healthier. City leaders would be equipped with comprehensive voice and video solutions that can change the way day-to-day operations take place, and improve the quality of life for the their population.

Healthcare and delivery of care are changing nationwide. People are more conscious than ever before when it comes to being engaged in their care, and city leaders can now take advantage of Polycom’s partnership with Microsoft and enjoy the benefits of voice and video technology.

Prevention and Wellness

Governments across the nation are beginning to focus on integrating prevention and wellness programs into all aspects of people’s lives in order to reduce chronic symptoms, hospital readmissions, and to address health practitioner shortages.

The key to realizing this vision is effective collaboration across a wide variety of healthcare stakeholders, which includes pharmacists, doctors, nurses, specialists, and most importantly, the patient and their caretakers. Robust voice and video technologies would enable all required parties to connect across distances and keep track of a patient’s health and progress.

Public health departments are coming together with health systems and payers to focus on prevention and wellness through patient education and recommended guidelines around wellness visits and behavioral health.

telemedicine-br-1Urban areas need to be more prepared for major, Ebola-like virus outbreaks, or other large-scale disasters that can create potential healthcare crises. Properly dealing with such crises requires constant collaboration within the state, as well as the federal government, making video and voice solutions an absolute necessity.

Care Team Collaboration and Administration

Live, face-to-face interaction and collaboration play a big role in helping doctors and patients when it comes to discharge planning efforts, transition of care, and care coordination. Thanks to voice and video technology, doctors, patients and families can connect via single or multi-point video collaboration on their device of choice thereby reducing costs and improving care team productivity.

Additional benefits include:

  • Improving population health through:
    • Faster and better care coordination between clinicians and patients.
    • The creation of multi-disciplinary chronic disease program teams.
  • Reducing unnecessary re-hospitalizations by supporting better discharge planning, care coordination, medication management, and follow up visits.
  • Reducing costs associated with travel and time to attend team meetings.
  • Facilitating specialist collaboration.
  • Managing healthcare provider shortages.
  • Help reduce ER load and patient wait times.
  • Improve project management.
  • Connecting care teams and patients in new ways—anytime and anywhere.


Patients in rural areas will often struggle if they are in need of a specialist or urgent care, which poses a challenge in getting timely treatment, particularly for chronic conditions and emergency situations.

Hospitals equipped with appropriate video collaboration solutions to support telehealth and telemedicine can connect medical professionals across the nation to collaborate, learn, and connect with patients outside of the hospital – whether at home, in clinics,  long term senior care facilities, community centers, or harsh and remote environments.

Telehealth and telemedicine can also help address doctor shortages in urban areas by connecting patients to doctors and specialists from all over the nation. Other benefits include:

  • Accelerating the scheduling of consultations and referrals within telehealth workflows.
  • Improving telemedicine and medical caseload management with virtual patient waiting rooms.
  • Automating vital sign monitoring of home bound patients with a bi-directional care model.
  • Reducing hospital readmission rates with new video content management tools.

Medical Education

For healthcare professionals, keeping up with training and certification has its set of obstacles. Luckily, having the ability to participate in education at the workplace or at home can support a practitioner to access information wherever they are, resulting in better outcomes and reduced costs.

Voice and video collaboration solutions can address educational and training challenges, enabling practitioners and organizations to:

  • Improve medical knowledge, skills and cooperation with collaborative learning environments
  • Experience innovative training environments with content sharing, annotation recording and streaming options
  • Easily locate and watch video recordings of training, lectures or operations
  • Deliver patient and community education
  • Support corporate or employee medical training
  • Increase the frequency of training without impacting productivity while reducing costs of travel

This allows medical practitioners to meet their education requirements and credits, stay up-to-date with advancements in medicine, and reduce time away from their practice and patients. For institutions, it means fewer incidences of practitioner shortage due to conferences or CME (continuing medical education) leave.

By making cities modern, safer, more educated, and healthier, city leaders can usher in a new age of urban life. Voice and video solutions are readily available and capable of transforming life as we know it. It’s now time to embrace the future and begin the transition.

To learn more about Microsoft’s CityNext initiative, click HERE.