Clinical and Experimental Dermatology
John Wiley and Sons Inc.
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Secure communication conduits during COVID‐19 lockdown
DOI 10.1111/ced.14244
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Black and Ali: Secure communication conduits during COVID‐19 lockdown

We commend Jakhar et al. in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology , which highlighted the virtues of instant messaging tools such as WhatsApp during the COVID‐19 crisis.1 While WhatsApp's advantages include being highly intuitive, widely used and accessible, there are concerns among clinicians about its use, as well as that of other commercially available communications apps. These include the loss of anonymity to patients, the need to reveal their personal telephone number, and questions over privacy and data security. In their paper, the authors overlooked a variety of freely accessible secure healthcare apps. For patients and physicians within the UK National Health Service (NHS), Nye2 is freely available, facilitating real‐time telephone and video consultations from any computer or smartphone without the need to reveal the clinician's personal details. From the personal perspective of the senior author (F. R. Ali), working during a time of enforced social distancing, the resolution afforded by Nye is helpful to diagnose many common inflammatory dermatoses, and the user interface is intuitive to patients and clinicians of all ages. Freely available apps that facilitate (among other functions) secure patient–clinician and clinician–clinician interactions without storing images on clinicians' photostreams include MySkinSelfie,3 Hospify,4 Pando and AccuRx, and others also exist. We encourage clinicians to consider such bespoke medical apps, made with consideration of data security and confidentiality at their core.

References

1 

JakharD, KaulS, KaurI. . WhatsApp messenger as a teledermatology tool during coronavirus disease (COVID‐19): from bedside to phone‐side. Clin Exp Dermatol2020, doi: 10.1111/ced.14227

2 

Nye Health Ltd . . The Nye phone. Available at: https://www.meet.nye.health (accessed 8 April 2020).

3 

HamptonP, RichardsonD, BrownSet al. Usability testing of MySkinSelfie: a mobile phone application for skin self‐monitoring. Clin Exp Dermatol2020; 45: , pp.73–8.

4 

RimmerA. . Sixty seconds on … Hospify. BMJ2020; 368: , pp.m930.