In February we drew your attention to an article produced by Digitalhealth which highlighted the data protection compliance problems of using WhatsApp as an instant messaging tool within the NHS.

A company named Forward believe they have a solution to this problem which has been designed specifically to meet the needs of NHS clinicians.

The key points of the Forward solution are:

  • Forward users must have a whitelisted email address, NHS or Trust, to login followed by the use of a two-step verification process, clicking on a link sent to that address to confirm your identity
  • Forward users must set a separate PIN to enter the app as additional security
  • Forward notification banners only show the name of the sender i.e. no patient information can accidentally be displayed
  • No data is stored on the device, and if the device is lost or stolen Forward can provide immediate remote logout
  • Forward separates your phone into work vs life – there is no risk of accidentally sending a message to your Mum or your pub quiz team.
  • Forward only allows you to view patient data if you have a duty of care for that patient- either you enter the information yourself, or you’re invited to view it by another clinician
  • Security is taken seriously. The system uses, as a minimum, AES 256-bit standards for data encryption, in transit and at rest.

To read more about this potential solution please go to the Forward security page  for further details.