London trust turns to secure messaging technology
London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust deploys Hospify to help professionals communicate and to broadcast important messages to staff during COVID-19 pandemic
The first-ever secure clinical messaging app to be approved for the NHS Apps Library has been made available to more than 10,000 employees at a major London NHS trust to help staff communicate with each other and with patients more effectively during the COVID-19 crisis.
London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, which provides care for more than a million people across its four hospitals and number of community services, has worked with health tech start-up, Hospify, to make the company’s secure messaging app available to thousands of staff.
The onset of coronavirus has underlined the growing importance of effective digital clinical communications
The platform, which became the first general-use medical messaging app to be approved by NHS Digital for the official NHS Apps Library in early March, was co-founded and developed by NHS vascular surgeon, Neville Dastur, and former technology journalist, James Flint, known for covering digital developments and developing online tools for outlets including Wired, the BBC, and the Telegraph.
Hospify will enable teams at the trust to co-ordinate and message each other instantly using their mobile devices, while keeping communication secure and compliant with data protection rules.
Teams can create chat groups, talk directly, and contact external parties to help share information safely and instantly at a time when close interaction is being reduced and many staff and patients are in self-isolation.
Sonia Patel, chief information officer at the trust said: “Hospify’s approved messaging app provides our people with a critical communication channel at what is an extraordinarily-challenging time.
“Rolling out this service not only helps our teams to communicate at a time when normal interactions are more challenging, but is a step in a wider strategy to improve our digital offering to all health and social care staff.”
The Hospify app offers similar functionality to popular consumer messaging apps.
Our healthcare professionals need access to technologies built for their needs, technologies that are easy to use and that they know they can trust to keep sensitive information secure, that can maintain privacy for staff and patients, and that have been rigorously tested and approved for the NHS
Staff will be able to take part in one-to-one and group messaging and exchange unlimited text and photo messages, with additional features to protect privacy such as a built-in passcode, the masking of personal details such as phone numbers or email addresses, and no harvesting of behavioural or other metadata that could otherwise be resold for marketing or advertising purposes.
For clinical teams and trust management, the Hospify Hub online admin portal helps with onboarding staff and provides the trust with the ability to broadcast important messages and document attachments to keep staff quickly apprised of new developments. This can be used to communicate with the trust’s entire staff or to target individual teams and shifts, without the need for people to have access to a PC.
Flint, chief executive of Hospify, said: “The onset of coronavirus has underlined the growing importance of effective digital clinical communications.
“Though consumer alternatives do exist, our healthcare professionals need access to technologies built for their needs, technologies that are easy to use and that they know they can trust to keep sensitive information secure, that can maintain privacy for staff and patients, and that have been rigorously tested and approved for the NHS.”
Since the Covid-19 outbreak hit the UK, Hospify has seen a rapid growth in use, and has been downloaded by healthcare professionals spread across more than 150 hospitals and other clinical sites across the country, where it is helping to improve data compliance by encouraging clinicians to stop sharing sensitive health data using consumer messaging applications.