Latest NHS Data Issues

So according to the BBC there is yet another data issue within the NHS.

You see according to this report from the BBC NHS staff are using common apps such as Whatsapp, Snapchat and even Facebook Groups to discuss patients.

From the article: ”

“I’m very wary of going near anything like that because of the risk of breaching data laws, but it would appear others don’t seem to be aware of the risks.”

The healthcare body needed to act swiftly to address the issue, or potentially face huge fines for data breaches, said Forrester analyst Kate McCarthy.

She likened current practices to the “wild west”, adding that the NHS was “incredibly far behind” in the adoption of digital sharing systems.

“I am empathetic with doctors because there is a need and desire among healthcare professionals to share this information and the fact that nothing exists for them to to do so is a huge problem,” she said.

“But that doesn’t make it OK to share patient data on Snapchat.

“The reality is that doctors are responding to the inadequacy of what the NHS is providing.

“They are creatively trying to find better ways to provide care, but they are using non-compliant tools.”

This is a real issue as these apps such as Whatsapp whilst they are good and may even improve patient care, they are not as secure as they should be for data that really needs to handled with the utmost care and held even more securely than these apps can do. I do see what indivdual doctors and groups of doctors are trying to do with Whatsapp I really do. but patient data

You see in the corporate world sending data such as personal information, card details, sensitive client information would not and should not be handled by these apps.  For my own business I have a suite of apps to handle messaging and sharing and they are highly secure no use of third party apps are allowed.

I really don’t to waste my time harping on the NHS and data security. There are posts on here going back years about the subject.

The NHS is far behind the times and needs to upgrade urgently and invest in new technology and do it is line with standard and timelines that are standard for the corporate world. You see NHS IT seems to run so far behind the times and they struggle to keep up. To make the point the article says that the NHS are the UK’s largest purchaser of fax machines, I stopped using a fax machine about 9 years ago! The NHS needs to use technology more effectively and adopt new technologies in a timely fashion. There was a major virus outbreak a while back that hit and disrupted large parts of the NHS. This could happen again. If decisions were made faster and deployments happened quicker then some of the IT issues in the NHS could be mitigated against.

At end of the article this statement is made:

“”No major error has come to light yet, but it is only a matter of time before a senior doctor leaves his or her phone on the train and someone gets hold of the all the conversations about patients and suddenly someone’s HIV status is made public,” he said.”

In my opinion this is the only way that things would change.