Secure messaging app for hospitals

Hospify transforms safe, secure communications for healthcare staff

Hospify is an ambitious new UK start-up which has combined frontline medical experience and modern IT skills to transform spontaneous everyday communication in healthcare.

Hospify is a direct response to the gap in the market for a secure app for real-time messaging between clinicians, support staff and patients.

Until now, use of WhatsApp has been rife in healthcare, despite the fact that the consumer app isn’t designed to meet strict patient data protection requirements.

Its popularity is due to the convenience of instant messaging for getting in touch with someone quickly – for example, when seeking a second opinion on a patient case.

Now, however, authorities are clamping down on use of non-compliant messaging platforms, and new EU data protection rules which come into effect in May 2018 will carry heavy penalties for data breaches involving sensitive personal data, particularly in relation to health. Hospify offers a solution.

The Hospify app boasts several innovative features. One of its critical differentiators is that it restricts message transfer to cloud servers based exclusively with the European Economic Area. Passing content outside of Europe, for example via servers based in the USA, can itself be counted as a data breach under the new EU data laws, even if that content is encrypted.

To ensure data security and confidentiality, meanwhile, conversations conducted over Hospify are securely end-to-end encrypted while in transit and then deleted from Hospify’s server network once they’ve been delivered. This means the only copies of the messages are those stored on participants’ devices.

Other features include the ability to easily find and form connections with other healthcare users via the in-app directory; pin code protection on the app itself, which provides an extra level of security; and the ability to see whether messages have been received or read, something that can be important to clinical groups, but which can’t be achieved with pagers or email.

Neville Dastur, co-founder, director and chief technology officer at Hospify, is a skilled programmer and healthcare IT advocate and also a practising consultant vascular surgeon at Frimley Park NHS Hospital in Surrey.

He wanted to implement the app quickly and knew that in order to bring it to the market he would need specialists in the cross-platform mobile environment Xamarin.

Having heard of the expertise at DCSL Software, and its previous successful work with Frimley Park Hospital, he picked the agency to help with development.

Hospify is currently about to take its app out to the broader market. The next major feature on the roadmap – to be introduced imminently – is support for picture messaging, so that clinicians are able to securely share X-rays and other medical images.

“A picture can tell a thousand words, so this facility will be invaluable when sourcing expert opinions at distance,” Dastur said.

He also anticipates opportunities in other industries for the app, such as in the local government and legal sectors, where spontaneous, secure messaging offers great value.

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