Patient data at risk: UK medtech startup calls on doctors to share cases securely
23 May 2017
- Doctors currently relying on unsafe channels to send sensitive clinical information about patients
- The MedShr app was designed specifically to offer doctors a secure, encrypted channel for case discussion
In the wake of the recent NHS cyber attacks, MedShr today calls on all medical professionals to think twice before sending patient images or information via Facebook, SMS or Whatsapp. Founder & CEO of MedShr, Dr Asif Qasim, expressed concern that many medical professionals are using unsafe channels to discuss clinical cases, in breach of official GMC guidelines. This puts patient images and private clinical information at risk of hackers and misuse.
Clinical case discussion is an essential aspect of most medical professionals’ daily practice and continuing medical education, with discussions today often taking place via smartphone. A recent study by Imperial College found that many doctors and nurses had sent patient-related clinical information over their smartphones; 64.7% of doctors had used SMS, 33.1% had used app-based messaging, and 46% had used their smartphone camera & picture messaging. But this practice puts both medics and patients at risk: clinical images aren’t stored securely, usually staying on the medic’s phone camera library, may not be properly anonymised to protect patient privacy, and there’s no record of consent. A lost phone or hacked iCloud account could risk those sensitive images being widely distributed.
These issues of patient privacy and information governance are key principles of MedShr – a system developed specifically to allow clinical case discussion in a secure, GMC-compliant, professional network. All clinical images on MedShr are anonymous and require patient consent, which can be obtained easily in-app. Clinical photos can be taken directly through MedShr to leave no copy on the medic’s smartphone. All clinical images, case information & patient consent forms are encrypted in secure cloud storage. In addition, all members must be verified as doctors or medical professionals before they can access the platform.
“We aim to provide a safe and secure digital environment for clinical case discussion while protecting patient privacy and operating within GMC guidelines,” says Dr Qasim. MedShr helps doctors, medical students & healthcare professionals make the most of smartphone technology and peer-to-peer learning opportunities in a secure, easy, compliant way.
MedShr is an app and platform for the medical community to securely share and discuss clinical cases.