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6 August, 2019 - 15:00 By Tony Quested

WhatsApp doc? New device answers SOS

Pioneering imaging technology from Feedback Medical in Cambridge is set to hand frontline clinical staff across the healthcare grid a desperately needed communication tool.

The company is launching Bleepa, a clinical-grade messaging app. The device is in the final stages of development and will be available to view and pre-order at the NHS England Health and Care Innovation Expo in early September.

Feedback claims the device will enable clinical teams to securely review medical images and make clinical management decisions using portable devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Doctors and medical staff can instantly access and advise on cases within a secure system.

Currently staff can only access images on computer screens and give advice by phone. Frustrated by delays, it has been reported that many doctors now routinely use social media messaging apps such as WhatsApp to communicate about patients – including taking photographs of computer screens in order to share patient images.

Aside from patient data risks, images can become pixelated and are not deemed suitable for precision clinical decision making.

The use of social media platforms like WhatsApp are also said to expose hospitals and individual users to the danger of litigation under the new data protection law, GDPR.

Dr Tom Oakley, Feedback Medical’s CEO, said: “Frontline medical staff want to provide the very best care for patients but are often frustrated by the failure of technology to keep pace with the demands of a fast-paced modern hospital environment.

“This is a message we have heard loud and clear. Bleepa is our response – a powerful tool to unlock instant access to medical images and allow rapid and effective clinical decision making.”

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