A new app, Hospify has launched to support 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, the 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.
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 that the only copies of the messages are those stored on participants’ devices.
Neville Dastur, co-founder, director and CTO at Hospify, is a skilled programmer and healthcare IT advocate, and also a practising consultant vascular surgeon at Frimley Park NHS Hospital in Surrey. Dastur 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 award winning agency to help with development. He comments, “We see this as a long-term partnership, not a one-off project,” he continues. “DCSL have proven to be very flexible – being both incredibly responsive and willing to work in a range of different ways, from using agile methods to letting us take the lead when we have known exactly what we want. It’s been the ideal match.”
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,” Mr Dastur explains.