New research reveals potential risk to NHS Trusts if staff continue to shun communication solutions

80 per cent of NHS Trusts use video conferencing, but overly complicated solutions and lack of training heightens the risk of shadow IT amongst staff

January 13, 2020

Data uncovered through a recent Freedom of Information (FoI) request reveals that despite 80 per cent of NHS trusts implementing video conferencing technology, the majority (56 per cent) don’t have training programmes in place to ensure staff are using these systems correctly.

This matters because support for the N3 network for health and care organisations, with its integrated video conferencing add-on, will end this year, and Trusts will transition to the Health and Social Care Network, which does not have a built-in video or collaboration platform.

StarLeaf sent the FoI request to 80 Trusts across the country to discover the main tools staff are using to communicate and understand the key challenges facing Trusts when enabling staff collaboration. It found:

  • 74 per cent of trusts use video conferencing as one of their primary means of communication
  • 48 per cent are planning to introduce virtual consultations or appointments via video in the near future

The research also found that where video conference systems are overly complex, it hampers communication amongst staff, with the risk of staff shunning approved applications and turning to shadow IT services, such as WhatsApp, to communicate and share information. This could have a serious impact on the security and privacy of patient data across the NHS.

William MacDonald, CTO at StarLeaf, commented:  “Effective communication should be the backbone for any Trust but the evidence we’ve seen suggests that when faced with cumbersome video conferencing equipment and limited training, it’s easy for people to turn to familiar tools such as WhatsApp. This puts Trusts at the risk of security breaches.”

MacDonald continues, “NHS staff perform an incredibly important role. They don’t want to be hindered by complex, difficult to use communications technology. It’s important they can communicate, collaborate and share, with a video conferencing solution that’s intuitively simple, as well as reliable and secure.”

About StarLeaf

StarLeaf are the pioneers of simpler and more natural business collaboration. Our secure messaging, meeting and calling platform helps people to connect quickly and easily, and to enjoy what they do more too. StarLeaf brings together today’s essential communication tools in one intuitive experience that’s consistent across mobile, desktop and meeting rooms, to keep people connected wherever they are. The reliable and predictable StarLeaf video collaboration platform offers a world-leading 99.999% uptime guarantee, robust security, and ISO/IEC 27001 certification.

Founded in 2008 in Cambridge, StarLeaf has offices in Europe, the Americas and Australasia, and is recognised as a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Meeting Solutions. For more information, visit or follow us: Twitter (@StarLeafCo) and LinkedIn (StarLeaf).

Media contact:

Harry Ashcroft | Burlington
(+44) 07429 108277

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