NHS Trust implements messaging tool to share patient information

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has rolled out a clinical messaging solution to provide a way to share information about patients without using WhatsApp.

Darren Lui, spinal and orthopaedic surgeon at St George’s Hospital who led the roll-out of the technology 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.

“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.”

The department began by rolling out the 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 that we could act quickly and send images to the Plastics Consultant, who provided an immediate prognosis and offered his clinical advice. This led to a quick decision – the patient was taken into theatre that night which meant resources were used appropriately and the patient received the care he needed quickly.

“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.”

Joost Bruggeman, a former surgeon and co-founder of Siilo, added: “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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