St George’s hospital trust implements clinical messenger to securely share patient information

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust rolls out Siilo as a safe and secure alternative to medics using WhatsApp

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has rolled out a clinical messaging solution to provide a safe, secure, easy way to share information about patients and eradicate the use of WhatsApp.

Darren Lui, spinal and orthopaedic surgeon at St George’s Hospital,who led the rollout of the technology, said: “Instant communication among healthcare professionals is essential for modern healthcare practice, to provide assistance in patient care, diagnostics, and communication. But it is imperative that we balance practicalities of sharing information with adhering to GDPR, governance and Caldicott Principles that are put in place to protect the privacy of patients.”

The department began by rolling out the secure messaging app, Siilo, which is used by more than 150,000 healthcare professionals across Europe, to hundreds of staff including consultants, junior doctors, specialist physician associates, and specialist nurses.

Due to its intuitive design, no training was required and staff were able to communicate with each other, share information, and get a second opinion from the moment they downloaded it.

Jonathan Ogidi, a physician associate at St George’s, said: “During one shift, we went to review a trauma patient with degloving injuries. Siilo meant we could act quickly and send images to the plastics consultant, who provided an immediate prognosis and offered his clinical advice.

Safe in the knowledge that patient information can no longer be accessed by external sources; communication between staff members is much more precise – and it has absolutely transformed the way teams communicate

“This led to a quick decision and the patient was taken into theatre that night, which meant resources were used appropriately and the patient received the care he needed quickly.

“What’s more, few of the existing tools that were reviewed provided the level of functionality that would enable the sharing of information with professionals within the wider healthcare setting, to access information on desktops and the file sharing of large images required in departments.

“As a Level 1 trauma centre, the department treats a large number of patients, and communication is essential to ensure everything runs smoothly. We were keen not to disrupt this, and so we wanted to find a solution that delivered the balance between convenience, practicality, and compliance.

“Before we introduced Siilo, we often had to communicate in abstract ways – using imprecise language or doctored images to avoid breaching patient confidentiality.

“But, now, safe in the knowledge that patient information can no longer be accessed by external sources; communication between staff members is much more precise – and it has absolutely transformed the way teams communicate.”

Instant communication among healthcare professionals is essential for modern healthcare practice, to provide assistance in patient care, diagnostics, and communication

With a significant number of NHS trusts continuing to use WhatsApp as a solution to share patient information, St George’s is now leading by example in providing its staff with the most-appropriate tools to improve their working life and the care they provide.

Joost Bruggeman, a former surgeon, and co-founder of Siilo, said: “We commend St George’s highly-responsible approach to an issue that many are turning a blind eye to.

“Not only have they addressed the issue, but they also have exceptional clinical engagement in the solution, which is not only resulting in improved security, but also improving efficiency and patient safety.”

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