WhatsApp in a clinical setting: The good, the bad and the law

C J Opperman, M Janse van Vuuren


The mounting complexity of patient data, with the increasing burden of patient numbers, demands efficient communication among a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers, to ensure a smooth-running hospital. In the daily function of a microbiology laboratory, information must be shared rapidly between doctors of various hospitals and disciplines. A doctor in the clinical setting may feel the need to be at different places at the same time in order to function efficiently. Therefore, the argument for using instant messaging to alleviate these pressures is compelling. The concern, however, is the high incidence of identifiable and sensitive data being exchanged. This article focuses on the justification for using WhatsApp Messenger in the clinical setting, with an emphasis on bioethics and the current legal framework in South Africa.

Authors' affiliations

C J Opperman, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

M Janse van Vuuren, Chennells Albertyn Attorneys, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2018;11(2):102-103. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2018.v11i2.643

Article History

Date submitted: 2018-11-30
Date published: 2018-11-30

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