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Snapchat Has Become a Tool For Doctors to Exchange Patient Scans

The Daily Dot
Social media is responsible for many technological advances, but they sometimes happen in a funny order. You'd have thought that a tool enabling doctors to send patient scans to each other should have been well established by now, but a recent study has found that many British physicians are actually using Snapchat to do it. According to reports from those who've done it, it's just a convenient way to exchange information.

That's fine in theory, but then you remember that this information is sensitive, very private, and being sent across channels which aren't exactly secure. It's also very difficult for medical management boards to monitor, something which is very important in hospitals. Detailed records need to be kept of everything, including how and when information is exchanged. Snapchat isn't exactly built for that.

One major criticism of the NHS is that it's always been slow to catch up with new technology, and this Snapchat phenomenon has been characterised as an example of bypassing, of doctors using social media to bridge a gap which really ought to have been filled years ago. A great deal of patient information is still exchanged on paper, either by hand or via fax machines.

While the undertakers of the study criticised the use of Snapchat, and commented that it "can't be allowed to continue", they did concede that it was easy to understand why doctors are using Snapchat, given the antiquated nature of the system they're supposed to be using. That being said, patients weren't being informed about it, and there's really no arguing in favour of that.

The results of the enquiry may result in some increased research into better electronic communication methods for doctors, but the findings were largely based around ethical concerns. Social media and confidentiality don't really mix, so using it to relay anything as private as patient data is a dangerous game. This study was isolated to only one hospital, which makes you wonder just how often this happens nationwide, or even globally.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Snapchat Has Become a Tool For Doctors to Exchange Patient Scans Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, July 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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