By Denis Campbell
Originally published October 7, 2015
Details of patients’ illnesses and treatment could be leaked because so many doctors use smartphones to send details of their cases to each other, including x-ray results and photographs of wounds, warns research.
Patients are at risk of having their confidentiality breached because up to two-thirds of doctors are using SMS texts and picture messages to share information, including photographs of wounds, in the search for a second opinion.
The findings prompted concern that sensitive details of patients’ conditions could become public if doctors’ phones were lost or stolen or they inadvertently sent a message to a wrong number.
Research among 287 doctors and 564 nurses working at the five hospitals in the Imperial College healthcare NHS trust in London found that 65% of the doctors had used SMS messages to communicate with colleagues about a patient.
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