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Virtual Visits and Microsoft Bookings

Important Note:

Microsoft have implemented Premium licensing which is required to access the Advanced Virtual Visits (Virtual Appointments) features (see Introducing Advanced Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams Premium – Microsoft Community Hub).

These changes take effect on the NHSmail shared tenant from 1 March 2024.

The SMS and Queue view are features which have moved from Standard to Advanced. The NHSmail team have licensed all accounts which have used these two features since September 2023 to ensure no loss in service.

If you have lost access to these Advanced Virtual Visits features after the 1 March 2024, please contact us on this Form (https://forms.office.com/e/LiBTKC8pcF) by using your NHS.net account.

Important Note:

Consult the Advanced Virtual Appointments guidance for more information about using Advanced Virtual Appointments features.

What is it?

Virtual Visits combines Microsoft Bookings and Microsoft Teams for managing and conducting remote consultations. The Virtual Visits tool is free for all users on the N365 shared tenant.

Microsoft Bookings is a scheduling tool that is directly added to the Microsoft Teams app. The calendar in Microsoft Bookings is automatically synced with the Teams and NHSmail Outlook calendars so that NHSmail users can access all scheduled meetings from one place.

What are the benefits of Virtual Visits?

MS Teams is already used by many NHS organisations
There is familiarity with MS Teams and trust among healthcare staff and patients
Virtual Visits is easy-to-use and secure
Virtual Visits bookings are integrated with clinicians’ Outlook calendars
Patient’s family members or carers can observe sessions remotely
Invites are sent from the organisation, keeping clinician and admin contact details secure
Clinicians and admins can arrange 1-1, 1-many, many-many consultations, and group visits
Patients are sent a custom link to join a meeting without sign in
Administrators can see the availability of multiple clinicians in a single view
Organisations can create and publish a bookings page for their clinic

Case Study: Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

In the below video Neil Goode, Local Administrator at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, shares their journey to Virtual Visits and explains what benefits their organisation has experienced.

How can I use Virtual Visits?

There are a few steps that should be taken by Local Administrators (LAs) and the healthcare staff to set up and start using Virtual Visits. These steps are summarised below.

LAs enable Microsoft Bookings on the NHSmail Portal, create Booking calendars and add users (the healthcare staff)

Healthcare staff receive an email and confirm their membership to the calendar by clicking on ‘Manage membership’ button

Calendar admins and healthcare staff can now manage their calendar, book new virtual visits, and change existing appointments

Healthcare staff can see their virtual visits in a single calendar that’s integrated with their existing Teams and Outlook calendar and can join their scheduled virtual visits on MS Teams

There is detailed step-by-step guidance on setting up and using Virtual Visits  on the support site for Local Administrators and health and social care staff.  General tips and best practice for using virtual consultations can also be found in the virtual consultation guidance.

Find more tools and guidance to help you.

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Last Reviewed Date 16/05/2024
Updated on 16/05/2024

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