With social distancing precautions driving a rapid uptake in remote GP consultations, doctors have begun to search for the best ways to ‘examine’ their patients from afar.
Although in the past a verbal description over the telephone would have sufficed, it is now widely accepted that when it comes to diagnosing and assessing numerous medical complaints, a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Whether the complaint is an allergy-triggered skin rashes, acne, bacterial infection, shingles or even a tumor, a single photo can often provide a doctor with all the information they need to gauge the severity of the condition and decide on the appropriate treatment.
However, the act of sending a photo to your doctor is fraught with risk. If a secure network and platform is not used, the image could end up in the hands of an unintended recipient, with dangerous or legal consequences. Furthermore, the storing of patient images on a doctor’s personal device breaks important safeguarding regulations.
We've recently been reminded that emails are vulnerable to phishing attacks when NHS Digital announced that 113 NHS email accounts have been compromised earlier this month. Phishing attacks are designed to defraud but they can also result in data breaches and patient confidentiality being compromised.
But is it the right decision to bypass the risks by avoiding patient-doctor image sharing all together? No, to do this would be to deprive patients of the myriad advantages of the latest advances in digital healthcare. At Cinapsis, we have developed a secure image sharing and storage feature which adheres to the most stringent national data security and confidentiality standards, providing peace of mind within an impactful tool for GPs.
How does it work?
Patients and doctors using Cinapsis can now securely send and receive high-resolution images from within the app. This means that, during a remote video or audio consultation, patients can capture photos using their phone camera, then instantly share these with their GP.
If the GP requires a specialist opinion on the patient’s condition, these photos can be sent on to the relevant expert, who can use the images to make an informed decision on the required course of treatment.
In addition, the patient can use their phone camera to monitor their condition over consecutive days, then share all of the images with their doctor - providing them with an insight into the development and progression of the condition.
How does it help?
After receiving the image and obtaining a verbal history from the patient, accurate triaging can be achieved and a treatment plan immediately actioned. The images are automatically compressed and can be easily uploaded to the patient’s notes.
Evidence from our users has already demonstrated how the introduction of secure image sharing within the Cinapsis app helps to further reduce unnecessary hospital clinic visits, and also accelerates the patient’s receiving of appropriate treatment.
Is it secure?
In order to safeguard users of the platform, patient images are never stored on a doctor’s personal device. Photos can be transferred and assessed solely via the Cinapsis app or designated secure NHS email inboxes.
Our utmost priority is the privacy and security of the doctors and patients using the Cinapsis platform. That is why we are constantly investing in and implementing the latest security features and most stringent data protection protocols.
Data is stored encrypted on the Health and Social Care Network (within the NHS) with end-to-end encryption in accordance with NHS guidelines. You have control over who accesses each image and video.
We take our reputation as a trusted and responsible communication platform extremely seriously, and we will continue to stay at the forefront of innovation in the domain of cyber security.
So whether you are using our platform to consult with patients from afar, obtain an expert opinion from a hospital specialist or share images of a medical condition, you can do so with complete peace of mind - now and always.