Friday 25 September 2020

WhatsApp is not secure enough for patient info: privacy watchdog

Photo: MDLinking.com

Photo: MDLinking.com

Doctors who use the instant messaging service WhatsApp to communicate with each other about patients should stop doing so, according to the Dutch privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens.

Doctors use Whatsapp to exchange information with other doctors during complex surgery or about patient treatment in general.

However, the app is not secure enough to transfer confidential patient information, the watchdog said, following a television current affairs show report on the way doctors use social media applications.

Alternatives

‘WhatsApp does not meet the standards for exchanging information about patients,’ the organisation told EenVandaag. ‘We recommend doctors use an alternative.’

Doctors’ umbrella group KNMG has also recommended against use of the app but said it cannot force healthcare professionals to stop using it. The KNMG therefore recommends doctors do not use the system to send information which can lead to patients being identified.

Dutch start-up MDLInking is currently developing a secure app for doctors which it says will remove worries about privacy. The Amsterdam-based company will soon turn a group of hackers loose on its product in a final test before a formal launch in May

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