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Press release | A third of NHS and healthcare workers are unable to do their best work due to overwhelming tech

  • An overwhelming 99% of healthcare professionals want to be free to focus on patient care, but the abundance of technology is taking time and energy away from their core tasks
  • One fifth of healthcare professionals (20%) admit to sharing sensitive information via regular email that they shouldn’t have
  • Almost half of healthcare professionals (49%) feel that too many data sharing and collaboration tools are the greatest cause of data security concerns
  • Over 60% reveal their organisation has experienced security threats in the last two years

LONDON, 7 December 2022 - Healthcare systems risk data breaches due to overinvestment in new technology, which is increasing stress and email mistakes, says a new study of healthcare workers by Zivver, a leader in secure communication solutions. 

The study is one of the largest independent pieces of research into secure digital communications and workplace productivity in the UK healthcare sector, surveying employees and IT leaders to investigate the state of digital security for healthcare organisations today.

Zivver found that professionals are feeling swamped by the growing number of digital comms in their healthcare organisation and, for the NHS, across wider integrated care systems (ICS). While investing in a large number of new channels may be perceived as progressive, the myriad of new technologies is disrupting workflows and productivity for healthcare workers. In the last two years, 51% of healthcare workers report that their comms channels have increased, with 31% saying new comms have impacted their ability to focus and do their best work. 

Healthcare workers can feel overwhelmed by choice, unsure of the best method. As a result, they feel stressed and are more likely to make email errors, which could result in a data breach. The research found that in the last two years, 30% of healthcare workers have sent the wrong attachment in error, 27% have hit reply all by mistake, and 20% have sent sensitive information via email that they probably shouldn’t have. 

Liam Cahill, an advisor to national bodies and frontline providers in healthcare, said: “IT leaders face a real quandary in trying to capitalise on the opportunities that digital technologies bring, but also in limiting the disruption and stress that accompanies huge changes to how staff work when patient demand and staffing levels are so critical. With communications representing such a huge part of care, whilst everyone needs to play a role in protecting the security of patient data, we need to make sure that smarter technology is bearing the load, rather than passing greater expectations on to already busy staff to avoid human errors and data breaches.

Cahill continued, “Healthcare staff have traditionally had difficult experiences with cumbersome technology, and at this time, if we can not just make it easier for them to confidently and securely communicate with patients using such a familiar tool as e-mail, in a more secure and accessible way, then this represents a great win for all involved.”

Adam Low, Chief Technology Officer at Zivver, added: “Our research found 99% of healthcare professionals want to be free to focus on their core role, but the increasing number of digital platforms they use is compounding their stress, distracting from core tasks, and leading to data protection mistakes. What we also found troubling is the lack of understanding of personal responsibility for computer security: just one in five respondents said they worry about data security. As email remains the most productive and efficient means of communication across healthcare, we must be working toward an effortless fix to ensure security and compliance for the transfer of sensitive information. Smarter, simpler technology with a layer of security will be the most effective way to overcome security barriers and support healthcare workers in delivering the best patient care.”

According to the report, email was championed as the preferred form of communication, with 88% of employees relying on email to get their job done. Being progressive means moving towards a stronger and better solution for all. 83% of IT leaders agree that employee email security errors can be reduced with smarter data security, making this a clear focus to improve patient care for IT leaders. 

The full Zivver report, “Improving patient care: Why email is the answer to more secure digital comms”, can be downloaded here.


About the survey 

The survey comprises of 6,031 interviews with employees who use email at work and 855 IT decision-makers with responsibility or influence over data security. All respondents work in organisations with 250+ employees across US, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium. The research took place in March 2022.  

Zivver interviewed global healthcare professionals worldwide, surveying over 400 healthcare workers out of the 6,031 employees working in sectors ranging from IT to financial services.  Respondents were asked about their use of email and other digital communications channels. Zivver analysed the healthcare professional’s experience of digital communications channels and compared these findings to the challenges facing the NHS and the Integrated care systems (ICS), tasked with ensuring patient care is delivered to the highest standard.

Zivver’s white paper on digital services in healthcare is published here: https://www.zivver.com/freedom-to-focus-healthcare 

Read about the Freedom to Focus survey here: https://www.zivver.com/freedom-to-focus  

About Zivver  
Zivver leads the 3rd generation of secure digital communications and provides effortless, smart and secure technology to organisations to safeguard sensitive information while ensuring regulatory compliance and empowering individuals to work with minimal disruption. Zivver optimizes secure communications and productivity by adding a security and privacy layer on top of existing email systems, such as Outlook (Desktop and Microsoft 365) and Gmail. Founded in 2015, Zivver serves over 5,000 organisations across multiple markets and verticals including Financial Services, Local Government, Healthcare, Central Government, Legal and more. Zivver was identified as a representative vendor for Email Data Protection Specialists in Gartner’s 2021 and 2020 Market Guide for Email Security; is one of the CyberTech 100, which recognises the world’s most innovative CyberTech companies for financial services, and is amongst the fastest-growing technology companies being nominated for Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 in 2021. 

First published -
Last updated - 07/12/22
A third of NHS and healthcare workers are unable to do their best work due to overwhelming tech
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