Curbside Consults: How a citizen developer set out to solve a clinical problem (Part 1)

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Healthcare and Life Sciences Blog articles.

Recently, we collaborated with a group of clinical leaders to discuss how to optimize clinical care using the Microsoft toolkit. We identified a number of areas to work on, and the following came up as the top priority. This is part 1 of a two part blog, technical documentation will follow in blog post #2. 


Primary Care Physicians (PCP) do not have an easy way to ask general questions to Provider Specialists to get advice on difficult cases, or to identify appropriate referral paths. The current solution is time consuming and redundant, requiring specialists to answer similar questions multiple times. This also results in referral outmigration and misdirection, as well as loss of valuable time.  


Initially we were looking to provide a customized solution to the clinical group, but after spending a few rounds of envisioning and design sessions with them, they began to see that this was a problem they could solve themselves. 


At Microsoft we have a mission to “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” ‘Empowerment’ is the key term in this mission statement. How does Microsoft empower those that have very specific needs that may not be covered by some of the more generic out-of-the-box solutions? Enter the Microsoft Power Platform, a suite of products designed to build custom solutions with little to no coding involved. Power Platform enables automating processes and creating virtual agents for even the most specific of tasks, helping users move faster through collaboration with IT and the business. The era of the citizen-developer is at hand. 


The following story was shared by the lead doctor herself. The story has been edited for anonymity.   


The Background…  

In November 2020, a small group of providers from our organization collaborated with a Microsoft customer success team to discuss how to best leverage the tools and apps within Microsoft Teams to optimize clinical care.   

During the engagements, the clinicians shared some of the common pain points experienced in their daily workflow and the customer success team proposed approaches to leverage the Microsoft tools to improve the experience.   

During one of the sessions, the use of a bot was presented as an opportunity to create a clinical knowledge bank and virtual assistant experience for referring providers to support the specialty referral process.   


And then…  

The customer success team partnered the clinicians with a Microsoft consulting team to facilitate an envisioning session for the bot. Microsoft agreed to support some custom development of the bot for a Proof of Concept.   

In the meantime, the clinicians were hard at work curating the content and resources to load into the bot.   


Due to delays that always happen in any large healthcare organization…  

One of the more tech curious physicians in the group discovered the Power Virtual Agent app was available and experimented with creating a “Mock-Bot” to use for demonstration and to get clinician contributors (to content) excited about the project.   

Using the vision and framework of the flow for the bot that was created during the envisioning sessions, she was able to closely replicate what had been mapped out during the sessions using a combination of Power Virtual Agent, Power Automate and MS Teams.   


Clinical Advisor Bot  

After a few trial and error cycles, several YouTube and MSFT sanctioned PVA videos, and some ideating with a few clinician colleagues…  

The “Clinical Advisor” Bot was BORN! 





The best part about this story is that this person had no technical experience prior to building this bot. This doctor identified a problem that needed to be solved and used the Microsoft products available to her to build a solution. She is the embodiment of Microsoft’s mission of empowerment. As mentioned in this story, she did not do this alone. She had the help of her Microsoft account team, and access to a vast amount of helpful content to help her along. If you have found yourself in a similar situation where you have a problem that needs to be solved, try reaching out to your Microsoft account team. Your Customer Success Manager would be happy to help identify potential solutions and point you in the direction of helpful content. To help get you started, here are some helpful tips and links. 


What is Power Virtual Agents?

Add bots to Microsoft Teams 

Quickly build an FAQ bot on Teams






Jordan Jensen, Sr. Customer Success Manager

Microsoft US Healthcare and Lifesciences





Vasu_cropped_preview.jpegVasu Sharma, Sr. Customer Success Manager

Microsoft US Healthcare and Lifesciences

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