The use of WhatsApp in healthcare makes sense for a number of reasons:
- It’s a safe and secure communication portal. End-to-end encryption makes it extremely difficult for anyone other than the participants of an interaction to gain access to message contents. In fact, the technology is “about one of the best safeguards you can have in place,” according to health data attorney Katie Kenney.
- It’s everywhere. The proliferation of WhatsApp, and chat apps in general, means it could vastly improve the reach of health warnings and the like. WhatsApp was integral in tracking the spreading of the recent Zika virus outbreak, Cello notes. Doctors used the service to share symptoms they were seeing, as well as babies’ CT scans.
- It could save time. Messaging allows doctors to maintain a patient’s overall health without needing to see them in person. This will help free up time otherwise taken by patients booking appointments simply to ask for advice or to check in.
- It’s free, for now. WhatsApp is free to download and does not charge users for access to any of its service. This could be a very appealing incentive to hospital administrators looking for a secure and easy mode of communication, expediting the adoption of the app within healthcare.
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