2 e-Letters

  • Taiwan health department encourages video consultation during Covid-19

    Dear Editor,
    We read with great interest the paper by Clement et al. With the advancement of technology, the digital consultations got a lot of attention in a good way and become more useful during the pandemic for both patients with disability as well as the normal patients. Though, some people still prefers to see the doctor face to face for more self-satisfaction. The digital consultation still have a long way to go for its acceptance within people specifically who are not used to and just begin.

    As we know that telemedicine or video consultation can be used if you want to have look at a patient in care home, are working in a remote practice or the patient is bed bound. It saves patients an unnecessary trip to the practice, and the practitioner may have time freed up to see the sickest patients first. [1] Under the COVID-19 pandemic situation, people have to beware of the existence of such approaches to consultations, during the pandemic people were afraid to go to the hospital or clinic to have a treatment or appointment with doctor, especially for the aging population.

    In Taiwan, the COVID-19 case raised up to hundreds local cases per day since Mid of May 2021 and the situation is going up to stage 3, the ministry of the health in Taiwan announced that people should prefer to use the digital consultation or telemedicine services to prevent the patients hospital visits and infection spread. Taiwan has a well-structured Health IT infrastructure an...

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  • Ensuring secure communication in health care:
 A response to O’Sullivan et al on their paper ‘‘WhatsApp Doc?’’

    The high incidence of sensitive patient data exchanged between physicians via Whatsapp and iMessage evidenced in this study demonstrate potential violations of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to come into effect in May 2018. The GDPR outlines specific requirements for the processing and storage of data of which patient data is arguably the most sensitive. Breaches are expected to generate fines of up to 4% of annual turnover or 20 million euro – for authorities such as the NHS and HSE, this is potentially catastrophic.

    Images of Xrays, blood results or wounds, taken via the mobile device in a doctor’s pocket, can be streamed via the famously insecure Apple iCloud in the USA, and suggested for potential upload to social Apps such as Facebook by default. Such material shared via Apps such as Whatsapp are downloaded by default to the image gallery on a smartphone and streamed between all networked devices, whether the recipients open the message or not. Such images can contain EXIF data, such as geographical co-ordinates, date, time, make and model of device etc. Such images are required to be encrypted and stored securely with the patient’s medical notes.

    It cannot be overstated that ‘free’ communications solutions such as iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, Secure Chat etc. are not free at all - if cash is not being paid for an App, the data of the clinician and patient is the commodity being paid for the functionality. Typically Apps have...

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