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PATIENT CARE


Medics have turned to communication channels such as Whatsapp to deal with emergency situations like the Croydon tram crash, Grenfell Tower fire and terrorist attacks in London Bridge and Manchester Arena.


designed cloud architecture will safeguard the operation.


In November 2018, new NHS guidance was published by NHS England, NHS Digital, Public Health England, and the Department of Health and Social Care. It advised doctors, nurses and other staff on using instant messaging safely to coordinate patients’ care during emergencies.


Medics have turned to communication channels such as Whatsapp to deal with emergency situations like the Croydon tram crash, Grenfell Tower fire and terrorist attacks in London Bridge and Manchester Arena. The guidance provided NHS organisations and staff with advice on making a judgement on how – and when – to use instant messaging safely in acute clinical settings, taking in to account data sharing and data privacy rules.


The steps include:


l Only using apps and other messaging tools that meet the NHS encryption standard


l Not allowing anyone else to use their device l Disabling message notifications on their device’s lock-screen to protect patient confidentiality


l Keeping separate clinical records and delete the original messaging notes once any advice has been transcribed and attributed in the medical record.


Dr Helgi Johannsson, consultant in Anaesthesia at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, set up a major incident instant messaging group to help coordinate his hospital’s response to Grenfell Tower after learning a key lesson during the Westminster attack.


Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer for Health and Care, said: “Helping people during a crisis like the Grenfell fire, demands a quick response and instant messaging services can be a vital part of the NHS toolkit. Health service staff are always responsible about how they use patients’ personal details and these new guidelines will help our doctors and nurses to make safe and effective use of technology under the most intense pressure.” Dr Johannsson, who was involved in


52 I WWW.CLINICALSERVICESJOURNAL.COM MAY 2019


Collaboration systems are revolutionising how organisations seamlessly connect people through secure video conferencing, messaging, and mobile apps – ideally supported by secure cloud architecture.


reviewing the NHS guidance, said: “Fully encrypted instant messaging services can be a particularly useful communication tool in delivering care to people during a major incident. “From the Westminster attack we learnt it


was important not to overload the emergency care co-ordinators with offers of help, so with Grenfell we used instant messaging to help coordinate which staff should come in, who was needed where and plan the service for later on that day which vastly improved the care we were able to provide. “These sensible guidelines will make the care of our patients safer through better communication by NHS staff.”


Easy to swallow solutions


Doctors need the freedom to stay in touch with colleagues whether they are in hospitals for consultation or simply on the move. With a reliable face-to-face communication


platform, through which meetings can be easily set up and rescheduled to accommodate clients, physicians can swiftly share patient information with the knowledge that transmission is secure. Collaboration systems are revolutionising how organisations seamlessly connect people through secure video conferencing, messaging, and mobile apps – ideally supported by secure cloud architecture. These cost-effective products work from anywhere, on any device, to cater for a dispersed workforce. By improving the way in which medical staff operates, compliant mobile messaging tools play a vital role in enabling colleagues to intuitively share messaging or call via video chat to speed up decision-making and collaborate more easily.


The virtual clinic


Collaboration solutions are not only improving communication between medical staff, but


©Studio Porto Sabbia


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