AGIK overcomes geographic barriers with Siilo Messenger
AGIK has adopted Siilo for real-time communications within their association to ensure that members across Germany are able to securely connect, collaborate, and discuss ideas and patient cases. Part of the German Society for Cardiology (DGK), an association of over 10.000 cardiological specialists across Germany, AGIK is the Specialist Working Group for Interventional Cardiology with over 1.200 members.
Challenge: Secure digital communication across Germany
AGIK’s decentralised nature made it challenging to keep members connected and up-to-date. Digital channels are key to communicating with members, and keeping them engaged. However, traditional mediums like email and fax are rarely the most efficient methods and have critical limitations, such as their inability to facilitate live discussions, rapidly update members on new protocols and regulations, and promote knowledge sharing amongst members.
With increased focus on patient data protection, medical and scientific associations like AGIK have found themselves searching for ways to improve communication channels while ensuring patient data is secure and protected. As with all digital technology currently in use, AGIK’s chosen solution needed to meet and stay up-to-date with GDPR and healthcare-specific regulations.
The Solution: A secure mobile medical messenger
In 2019, AGIK began using Siilo, a secure medical messenger, to communicate with their members spread across Germany. AGIK chose to work with Siilo because it met all of their security and compliance needs, including end-to-end message encryption, a secure camera and image bank, and full compliance with GDPR regulations and ISO 27001 / DCB-0129 certifications. When AGIK first implemented Siilo, over 10.000 German medical professionals were already using the free messaging function, including members of AGIK.
Working with the team at Siilo, AGIK created a bespoke Siilo Connect environment for their association with unique discussion boards called “tiles”, each with an assigned purpose. Currently, AGIK uses five tiles to communicate with their members:
The “Case Discussion” tile is used by members to discuss patient cases from their clinical practices with the network, by using the ‘Create Case’ function. This enables members to share complicated cases in chat threads without disrupting the wider conversation flow. This encourages asynchronous collaboration and knowledge sharing, and the original poster can later export and save the concluded conversation as a PDF for the patient’s EHR.
Each tile has a similarly unique role and purpose within the association. “Hotspots” is used to keep members updated and aware of changes in protocol or guidelines, to discuss new studies, or share new devices and topics in interventional cardiology. “Infoboard” is used for general information about the association as a whole, while members are able to stay informed on new training sessions and congresses via the “Appointments” tile, and notable members and sponsors are recognised via “Sponsor”.
Using Siilo has also removed barriers for AGIK members when searching for colleagues with specific specialisations. With a closed member directory and asynchronous messaging, members can quickly seek second opinions and confirm hypotheses with their peers.
For DPOs and system managers, Siilo Connect also enables tracking and analysis of how members are using and interacting with the platform. This can provide valuable insights about which tiles are providing members with the most value, as well as identifying new ways to support the network.
Results: A united community of German cardiologists
Between January and June 2020, AGIK’s 1.200 members have exchanged an average of 1.140 messages each month, discussing everything from patients and their practices to research and protocol changes. Furthermore, the AGIK network has used Siilo to discuss an average of 65 patient cases each month, sharing critical information on how challenging patients and situations should be approached to guarantee the best outcome. Implementing a Siilo network for AGIK has allowed valuable discussions to take place on a daily basis, creating learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities centred on everyday clinical scenarios.
Far from being static, the AGIK network will continue to evolve the way they use Siilo in the future, and improvements will be made over time based on member feedback. The AGIK board has already found an opportunity for improvement through an integrated mentoring component, which could be used to improve and formalise knowledge sharing within the association. When implemented, this will be an especially valuable resource for younger members, who will have dedicated access to the wealth of information and experience within AGIK.
Using Siilo has empowered AGIK to effectively and securely communicate with their network of interventional cardiologists across Germany, as well as improve communication security. Having an asynchronous messaging tool has promoted stronger ties between the association and its members, as well as fostered collaboration amongst the members themselves. As a result, peers are sharing their knowledge and expertise every day with the ultimate goal of improving care for cardiology patients across Germany.