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Skype for Business

Microsoft Skype for Business is a tool that enables participants to talk, see and hear each other. It also has instant messaging and allows participants to share content on their desktops, such as documents and presentations.
Everyone with a PHSA, VCH and PHC network account has a Skype for Business account. With Skype for Business, you can connect with staff, physicians and clinicians across PHC, PHSA, VCH, FHA and the other B.C. health authorities via instant messaging, videoconferencing and audio conferencing. People outside the health organizations can attend meetings via a guest link. Get started with Skype for Business with this brief quick start guide. If you still have questions, contact the IMITS Service Desk at servicedesk@phsa.ca  

The Office of Virtual Health has led two demonstration projects to conduct Virtual Health Visits with patients using Skype for Business. A Privacy Impact Assessment and STRA has been completed for Skype for Business. 

Skype for Business and consumer Skype are different and there is no interoperability at this point. We recommend Skype for Business for connecting with patients virtually in light of COVID-19 if you already have Skype for Business installed on your device. 

When to use it

  • For one-on-one and group virtual health visits (including live screen sharing, file sharing, chat during sessions)

Best use

  • Scheduled consult and follow ups

Technical requirements

  • PHSA staff can use the desktop application installed on PHSA computers. Your Skype for Business is integrated with your Outlook email. We recommend using a headset and camera for better audio and video experience. 
  • Patients can join meetings using most iOS, Windows and Android devices newer than 2012. We recommend smart phone (iOS and Android), tablet (iOS and Android), and Windows PC for patients. 

Privacy and Security 

  • A Privacy Impact Assessment has been completed – PIA 20180112

Risk and limitation

  • Health authority infrastructure and performance load to support simultaneous sessions and performance (use case dependent)
  • Potential to send meeting invite to an uninvited recipient
  • Unintended sharing of personal identifiable information
  • Lack of meeting invite password encryption
  • Policy constraints if user was on external Wi-Fi or public setting
  • Known compatibility issues with MacBook 
  • No analytics available via the solution 

Guideline and policy

Get started with Skype for Business

Step 1

Introduce virtual health to patients

Introduce virtual health to patients by phone/email/text. Check the technical readiness of your patients. Obtain the patient’s personal email and send an initial email to validate their email address and provide notification of risks (see APPENDIX 1: Client Notification Form (PDF), and APPENDIX 2: sample validation script (PDF)).

Step 2

Schedule a virtual health visit 

Contact patient to schedule a visit. Obtain the patient personal email. 

When scheduling a visit, patient’s email must be added as resources. See user guide for step by step instruction. 

Step 3
Provide patient Quick Tips

Email patient's virtual health patient checklist (PDF). 

Step 4
Conduct virtual health visit

Prior to the visit, choose a private location with reliable internet access. 

At the time of the appointment, tap or click the link in your email invitation, follow prompts, and join the meeting. 

In the unlikely event of technical issues, please switch to a telephone visit with patient. Supporting materials can be sent to patient via email or SMS. 

After the visit, email/text the patient experience survey link (optional). Document encounter in patient record as usual.

Step 5
Log the result in Tracker (optional)

The Office of Virtual Health will contact you regularly to understand your virtual health experience so far and provide support as needed.  


SOURCE: Skype for Business ( )
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