Open Letter: Attention all healthcare providers

Jan 21, 2021

Dear Reader,

This open letter is to all healthcare providers to highlight the importance of protecting clinician and patient privacy online.

As we all know, good communication in healthcare is critical. Communication is an essential pillar in the delivery of efficient and effective care. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for fast, easy, and safe digital communication. The mobile revolution has provided a multitude of options for us to use.

As consumers, we communicate using tools from companies with familiar names, such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. However, we know that they collect and use data across their channels to sell advertising and monetise consumer data.

What happens when consumer tools intersect with professionals working in a healthcare setting?

Due to the lack of specific healthcare communication alternatives, most healthcare workers have turned to consumer messaging tools like WhatsApp or texting to communicate with their colleagues and coordinate patients' care. Sensitive patient information, including clinical images, is exchanged over these platforms.

Such tools become known as "Shadow IT" and they are prevalent across most industries, especially the healthcare sector. Our workforce chooses the right tool for the job when suitable alternatives are absent.

Why is this an issue now?

A recent privacy policy change to WhatsApp has highlighted the intention of Facebook to monetise the use of WhatsApp's data. We know that these are not the only platforms using our data this way. It concerns us that health professionals may continue to use tools like this to send protected patient information.

Most of your organisations will have policies around handling sensitive digital information. You may not be aware that companies, including Celo, have tackled this challenge head-on and created a solution to this problem that enables health organisations to provide a tool for their staff to communicate safely.

Over the past five years, our organisation, Celo, has provided a secure and compliant alternative that makes it easy for teams to communicate and shift away from consumer tools WhatsApp.

We work with customers worldwide, including New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. We are proud to say we have several local district health boards using our service and many private, community, and primary care providers.

We believe that healthcare organisations are responsible for providing their clinical teams with a safe tool for communicating patient data, which also simplifies and improves their day-to-day workflow.

We are not asking you to buy our product. However, if this issue is important to you and you would like to implement a safer way of communicating, we can help. We would love to help your staff and your patients stay safe online while working effectively and productively to make the health system work even better.

Kind regards,


Stephen Vlok
Founder and CEO

About Celo

Proudly founded in New Zealand in 2014, Celo's secure app makes it easy for healthcare teams to communicate, enabling compliant and efficient messaging for better patient care.

Learn more

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