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 organizations 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:

  1. 98.9% of clinicians own a smartphone
  2. over 90% of clinicians use a healthcare centered 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 organization not to mention putting sensitive patient information at risk.

  1. 27% of clinicians use a secure messaging application in the workplace
  2. 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 a HIPAA compliant and secure solution to individuals and organizations.

An article published in the British Medical Journal titled “Wanted: a WhatsApp Alternative for Clinicians” demonstrated that instant messaging is a valuable tool in the healthcare sector, but often consumer tools get used, including WhatsApp, that do not comply with health privacy laws such as HIPAA and GDPR.

The article showed there are huge risks of using WhatsApp in a clinical setting but clinicians continue to turn to the tool. 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?

Using WhatsApp for sending patient health information (PHI) is a direct violation of HIPAA.

Here’s why:

  1. WhatsApp and texting are not compliant with HIPAA.
  2. WhatsApp messages are only encrypted in transit. Messages and photos on a device or in backup remain vulnerable.
  3. The servers owned by Facebook are not compliant with HIPAA.
  4. You require personal phone numbers to message individuals.
  5. Clinical conversations are easily mixed with personal chats.
  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 organizations. The Celo healthcare messaging app is always pin code or biometrics protected.



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



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.


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 unauthorized 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 Health 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.


Still using WhatsApp? Switch to Celo.

Celo has replaced WhatsApp and other non-compliant messaging apps in hundreds of healthcare organizations. With an instantly familiar interface, teams are onboarded quickly and require no training.

Celo 2024. All Rights Reserved |
Celo 2024. All Rights Reserved |