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Secure Communication – A Force for Good in Health Care Provider/Patient Conversations

April 24, 2012

The thing we all expect and hope for in social media is that someone is listening. We consciously and purposely share our thoughts for the greater good, right? The discussion regarding the use of social media in improving communication between health care providers and patients surrounds issues common to both sides of the Provider/Patient relationship: Providers are concerned with privacy mandates and liability while patients desire a private forum in which to share personal information.

Privacy concerns complicate the adoption of social media as a powerful channel for healthcare outreach and education and as an inbound route for patient communication with providers. The use of secure, encrypted communication as a complement to public forums like Twitter and Facebook could be a workable solution.

In a recent article in the New York Times (link to full article here) I read about Nadim Kobeissi, a 21 year old Lebanese man now living in Brooklyn NY that is working on CryptoCat, a secure messaging service created to avoid detection by government authorities. Nadim’s simple explanation is this: “you click a link and you’re chatting with someone over an encrypted chatroom… That’s it. You’re done. It’s just as easy to use as Facebook chat, Google chat, anything.” Ah, beauty in simplicity.

So, you healthcare providers out there, take note. Imagine a scenario where a patient may initially make contact via Twitter or Facebook, the wide-ranging, public forums that you need to be participating in, then simply click a link to enter into secure, private communication. What do you think of the possibilities?


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  1. I think the possibilities are fantastic. If the secure communication portal also included some mood/thought/behavior tracking tools, that would be amazing!

    • Interesting, Ann. So you suggest that, what, there be some check boxes or dialogs to guide patients through a pattern of capturing that information? Is this codified data?

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