St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London has begun the rollout of the secure clinical messenger solution Siilo enabling healthcare professionals to share patient information.
The hospital trust sees the Siilo messaging app as a way to not only provide a safe, secure and easy way to share information about patients, but also eradicate the use of WhatsApp.
The app, which is used by more than 150,000 healthcare professionals across Europe, is being made available to consultants, junior doctors, specialist physician associates, specialist nurses and other staff at the hospital.
It is simple to use, due to its intuitive design, with no training required by staff to use Siilo.
The rollout of the technology has been led by Darren Lui, a spinal and orthopaedic surgeon at St George’s Hospital.
He said: “Instant communication amongst healthcare professionals is essential for modern healthcare practice to provide assistance in patient care, diagnosing, 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.”
In one example of its use, physicians reviewing a trauma patient were able to use it to rapidly send images to the plastics consultant, who provided an immediate prognosis and offered clinical advice, which meant the patient was taken into theatre that night.
WHY IT MATTERS
The hospital says the system offers better functionality than similar existing tools in the way it enables the sharing of information with professionals within the wider healthcare setting.
It offers access to information on desktops and the file sharing of large images required in departments.
Lui added: “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 – it has absolutely transformed the way teams communicate.”
ON THE RECORD
As a level 1 trauma centre, his department at St George’s treats a large number of patients, meaning that effective communication is essential.
“We were keen not to disrupt this and so we wanted to find a solution that delivered the balance between convenience, practicality and compliance,” he added.
Hospitals are becoming increasingly aware of the need to share patient information over secure platforms, though a significant number of NHS trusts continue to use WhatsApp as a solution.