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Crisis communication in hospitals and care facilities: Telekom and NetSfere offer secure messaging platform

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Employees in hospitals and care facilities are increasingly using messenger services for internal communication. In hectic everyday life, this is a practical solution for rapid communication at infirmaries: ease of use, fast response times and a wide range for groups help to reduce the workload. Staff and operations remain more resilient as a result. However, the focus here is on sensible personal information. Special data protection guidelines apply to them. The popular messenger services often harbor high security risks. In cooperation with NetSfere, Telekom now offers a secure solution. The mobile messaging platform offers all the usual functions and is securely hosted and encrypted in Germany. The St. Augustinus Group is already using the service successfully. The healthcare provider with 85 locations runs hospitals, specialist clinics, facilities for seniors and people with disabilities, and a hospice.

“In the sensitive medical environment, it must be possible to communicate quickly and securely. NetSfere is the specialist for instant messages in companies. Telekom brings its expertise in security, consulting, and service. Together, we can meet the special industry requirements, and that is quite crucial right now,” says Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director Business Customers, Telekom Deutschland GmbH. “In this way, we can directly contribute to relieving the burden on staff and support optimal patient care.” 

Messenger service without risks and side effects  

Medical professionals are constantly on the move in the medical wards. With the onset of the pandemic, the need for fast and situational communication increased. Emails and telephony are unsuitable for this. 

“NetSfere is designed to meet security and compliance requirements in regulated verticals including healthcare,” says Franz Obermayer, NetSfere’s Vice President Europe. “Medical professionals do high-pressure, life-changing work, which demands a communication platform that enables them to do so more effectively. Our partnership with the St. Augustinus Group provides secure, compliant, and flexible messaging options that eliminate the need for staff members to turn to risky messaging apps. With NetSfere, the exchange of patient data is protected to the maximum.” More than 2,000 St. Augustinus Group users now share information via messaging, voice, photos and video through an app on smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Communicate safely and quickly in crises

Unlike consumer messaging apps, NetSfere offers enterprise-grade features that promote collaboration and streamline communications, including one-on-one and group chats, HD audio calls, screen sharing and group video calls. New to the platform is NetSfere’s Lifeline emergency feature, which enables HR and crisis teams to quickly and attention-grabbingly disseminate important alerts and emergency information to specific teams or the entire organization. St. Augustinus uses broadcasting at its hospital to keep employees up to date on the pandemic via a dedicated NetSfere channel, “Corona Ticker.” Physicians and nurses can also install NetSfere on their personal smartphones and tablets: Not every employee has access to a computer or has a corporate email address.

“It is our responsibility to equip our employees with suitable tools. They must be able to do their work effectively. At the same time, the privacy of our patients must be protected,” says Rainer Pappert, Managing Director of the St. Augustinus Group. “With the introduction of NetSfere, we followed the wishes of our employees: They want to use their personal devices. And they want to do so with an easy-to-use messaging app. So, we quickly introduced NetSfere for internal communication. With it, we quickly achieved better productivity and collaboration. Between teams, but also within our entire group. And that’s about 5,600 colleagues.”

Simple, secure, encrypted

The IT team can control the use of the app itself and change the usage policies ad hoc at any time. In principle, external parties can also be included in secure chat conversations if required. For example, doctors can chat directly via video or text with patients’ relatives or integrated laboratories for a limited period of time via NetSfere. 

Telekom provides consulting, installation, and service for the messenger solution. The NetSfere messaging server is hosted in a secure and data-protection-compliant Telekom data center. All connections between the individual end devices are end-to-end encrypted. All data remains encrypted even in the data center. 

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