Hello to GDPR... and welcome to the Hospify Hub!



Hello GDPR

Today marks a big day in the life of Hospify. Around three years ago, we travelled to Manchester to talk to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about a plan we had to build a messaging platform for health. We'd heard that a piece of legislation called the General Data Protection Regulation was coming down the track, legislation that would cause problems for clinicians using consumer messaging and social media like WhatsApp and Facebook in the course of their professional work. And we wanted to do something about it.
On the basis of that conversation we began designing and building Hospify, a messaging system that not would not only have GDPR compliance built into its very architecture, but which would be so cost-effective to run that most of its core services could be offered for free without the need to sell user data or advertising.
As you know this service is now live, you are all using it, and it's attracting new users every day. In the last fortnight alone Hospify has passed compliance due diligence at four major hospitals, and more are coming onboard all the time as they strive to get their employees to stop risking data breach by using WhatsApp at work. 

Today is the day on which that risk becomes a reality. It's been a huge challenge to get Hospify live for this moment, but we've done it, and we're here and ready to help you meet the challenges posed by GDPR head on. We should be celebrating, and we are, a little bit, but there's no time to waste because there's still lots more work to be done!

Welcome to the Hub

Hospify doesn't sell your data to advertisers, but it has to pay its way somehow. And so yes, there is a paid version of Hospify in the pipeline, an online tool that allows hospitals, GP surgeries, union branches, pharmacies, researchers and anyone else who needs to co-ordinate a team of health professionals the ability to do so by using our platform.
We call this the Hospify Hub, and we began testing it live just last week with our partners Unison healthcare at University Hospitals North Midlands in Stoke. The Hub allows an administrator to invite, onboard and validate existing Hospify app users (in a GDPR-compliant manner, of course) by sending them a special token which they then copy into their app. This connects them to the Hub, and the administrator can then organise them into official chat groups (which appear in their in-app Groups list) and what we call “audiences”, which are basically supergroups to which Hospify messages can be broadcast.
Want to set up an official group for a particular ward? The Hub will handle it. Need to send a message to all the nurses about some new antibiotic guidelines? Do it through the Hub. Want to find out which of the nurses have actually read those new guidelines, and chase the ones that haven’t? Yes, the Hub will handle that too.

Like all of Hospify’s tools, the Hub is both very simple and very powerful. We’ll be rolling it out to more pilot users over the next few weeks, and we can't wait to show it to you! Once it’s fully live, details will be posted up on our website and of course we'll tell you about it in this newsletter, but if you’d like to find out more in the meantime, drop us a line on info@hospify.com. We'll be happy to chat it all through.

Hospify is hiring!

To support the Hub we’re expanding our team, and are currently on the look out for a full-time Xamarin/.Net/node.js developer to join us on our mission to transform healthcare communication. If that sounds like you or someone you know, again, drop us a line (and a CV!) on that same email address, and we will send you more details.

A loyalty reward (sort of)

Given what's happening tomorrow, it wouldn’t be right to sign off without another nod to GDPR. No doubt you are by now heartily sick of all the newsletter opt-in requests in your inbox. The good news from us is that, having been three years ahead of the game here at Hospify, we don’t need to get all of you to opt in again, as we were very careful with our data collection processes from the beginning.

There are a few of you, though, who’ve been supporting us and following us from our very earliest days, back when we were not much more than a website and a big idea. As a reward for your loyalty we are unfortunately going to have send you an opt-in mail, which we’ll do very shortly, to make sure that you still want to here from us. If you get one of these do please click and confirm in order to keep receiving this newsletter. As you know, it’s very occasional and very focussed on the service we offer, and doesn’t carry a lot of irrelevant marketing baggage (and we intend to keep it that way).
The rest of you, who have already opted in by installing the app or signing up via our website, are of course welcome to unsubscribe at any time using the link at the foot of this mail. We keep your email only for the purposes of sending you this newsletter and supporting you as a Hospify user, and not for any other purposes. And we will of course remove you and all the information we hold on you from our systems at your request should you wish to do so.
Helping you do that kind of thing is, after all, is the entire point of Hospify!
Share safely,

The Hospify Team

Coming soon to a phone near you: Hospify redesign & 30-day deletion


The Hospify redesign is here!

We didn't send out a newsletter last month... and now you know why. We were working very hard on a complete design refresh for the app, which we're going to be rolling out in phases over the next couple of weeks. If you have an Android phone you may have had the upgrade already. iPhone's will follow suit.

We hope that you like it! It's a lot cleaner and more contemporary than the old design, which we didn't so much "design" as make up as we went along. But with growing numbers of you using the service and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) less than a month away, we felt it was time to spruce ourselves up - after all, we didn't want to go into the new era of data protection looking underdressed! 

As well as the fine new look we've been tidying up a lot of stuff in the background too, things that you can't see but which will make the app better to use. There's much more on that front to come, too - and top of the list is something lots of you have asked for: a proper user management system to allow you to migrate your account from one device to another without having to get us to do it for you. 

Fear not, it's in progress, and will be with you before long!


30-day auto message deletion

We did actually mention this in our last newsletter back in February, but so many of you have signed on since then we thought it was worth repeating. Part of the point of Hospify is that it doesn't save your data. Our "serverless" infrastructure deletes your texts after delivery, and your pictures are held for download on our encrypted picture servers for just 30 days.

As well as removing data from our servers, we also prevent sensitive data piling up on user's phones by automatically deleting all messages more than a month old. We haven't switched this function on while we've been piloting the app, but with GDPR around the corner the time has come - and the auto-deletion feature will be switched on as part of the redesign.

Why are we doing this? Because under GDPR and UK data protection you are not liable for data you do not hold (the key scenario is the "subject access request" - see this recent Guardian article for more detail). If messages you receive via Hospify contain information that should be added to the patient record, as clinicians you should add it just as you would information you received during a face-to-face consultation or a phone call.

And if you receive information via Hospify that you think might be legally sensitive, show it to your line manager or your legal advisor. If necessary, in extreme cases you could even take a photograph of the relevant message on your phone and pass it to the proper authorities, to be sure you have a properly documented record.

The whole point of Hospify is that its rigorous and transparent data policies let you use instant messaging just as you would like to - in a relaxed manner, without the need to worry about data anonymisation or inadvertent data breach. In order to do that, we don't let data hang around once it has outlived its immediate usefulness. If a piece of information in Hospify becomes more than that, and you feel you should keep it for the reasons outlined above, then it's time to take it beyond instant messaging, and source it and log it in a more appropriate manner.

If you have any questions about compliance, we're always happy to help - just drop us a line on info@hospify.com and we'll do our best to answer your queries. 

And in the meantime... share safely!

The Hospify team