Celo: An Alternative to WhatsApp

Thinking of sending sensitive patient data to your colleagues or team via a WhatsApp chat group? Think again. Most consumer-grade messenger apps aren't fit-for-purpose in the healthcare industry.

Find out why Celo is safer than WhatsApp.


The situation

In the healthcare sector, there are mobile devices everywhere which are often being used at the point of care. In particular, clinicians at hospitals and healthcare organisations are using consumer text-messaging and instant-messaging apps to communicate and discuss patient details due to the convenience of these services.

“The ownership and clinical use of smartphones by doctors and nurses in the UK”, found that:

- 98.9% of clinicians own a smartphone

- over 90% of clinicians use a healthcare centred app

(Evidence from the British Medical Journal)

The problem

WhatsApp and other consumer grade applications don’t treat the data that’s being communicated with the right level of security, meaning they fall short of health privacy standards, including HIPAA (USA), GDPR (EU & UK), HISO Regulations (NZ), or OAIC (AUS) regulations. The penalties for this are severe for the individual and the organisation not to mention putting sensitive patient information at risk.

- 27% of clinicians use a secure messaging application in the workplace

- Only 7% of hospitals said most clinicians were using a hospital-issued messaging app

While almost all clinicians have access to a smartphone, a majority were wrongfully using consumer applications readily available to non-healthcare professionals.

(Evidence from the Journal of Hospital Medicine)

The solution

At Celo, we have solved these problems and have become an integral part of the healthcare sector by offering compliant and secure solutions to individuals and organisations.

An article published in the British Medical Journal titled “Wanted: a WhatsApp Alternative for Clinicians” demonstrated that WhatsApp is a valuable tool in the healthcare sector, even if it does not comply with health privacy laws such as the GDPR.

The article showed that the huge risks of using WhatsApp in a clinical setting are outweighed by the benefits. This highlights a problem in the healthcare sector that needs to be solved quickly as over 90% of clinicians are already using their smartphones in the workplace.

What's wrong with using WhatsApp for healthcare communication?

The NHS England states that “WhatsApp should not be used for clinical communications”.

Here’s why:

  1. Data and photos are stored on your personal device.
  2. The servers, owned by Facebook, are based in the US.
  3. WhatsApp is not pin protected.
  4. You require personal phone numbers to message individuals.
  5. Easily mixed with personal contacts and communications.
  6. Users are not verified and sensitive information can end up in the wrong hands.

Celo solves healthcare privacy risks


Celo verifies users by identity and profession, so you can make sure you are talking to the right person. Celo also verifies healthcare organisations. The Celo healthcare messaging app is always pin code or biometrics protected.


All Celo data is stored securely on Celo’s compliant servers, which are healthcare grade encrypted, in your Celo secure library. No patient information is stored permanently on a Celo user’s device, including any clinical photographs captured.


All data is stored in a regionally and healthcare compliant Microsoft Azure Data Centre that is compliant with ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, HISO regulations and OAIC regulations. All data used by the Celo app and end user is also encrypted using sha256RSA.

Go to Security Page

At Celo, we only do healthcare

An encrypted and secure app

All Celo data is password protected and encrypted with healthcare grade protocols. No patient information is stored permanently on a Celo user’s device, including any clinical photographs captured. As such, Celo cannot be compromised if unauthorised access is gained to your phone. Celo verifies users by identity and profession, so you can make sure you are talking to the right person.


Celo data is securely stored and can be integrated to Electronic Medical Records. Furthermore, Celo data is stored to be compliant with data sovereignty requirements.

Celo Secure Library

Photos and documents stored or created in Celo are only saved to the Celo Secure Library and not saved on the user’s device. The Celo Secure Library is not synced with any third party servers or cloud services. Celo also allows clinicians to optionally attach a record of consent to clinical photos.

Privacy by Design

Data in your Celo Secure Library is private unless you choose to share it with a healthcare professional from the Celo Verified Network.

Want to know more?

We’re passionate about compliant healthcare communication, so if you want to talk to us about this, we’re happy to chat.

Contact Us

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