Slack is a secure instant messaging app that allows staff to connect and collaborate. From October 2023, Slack is Western Health’s interim secure instant messaging platform of choice, following the decommissioning of myBeepr by the vendor.
Staff can use Slack to communicate through text messaging, create private chats or channels, share files and media, or have voice and video calls. All content -including files, conversations, and people- is searchable within Slack, and staff can organise their chat groups by topic.
Slack is a useful communication tool for staff, however it is important that staff continue to comply with the relevant policies and privacy guidelines with regards to the information that is shared. The disclosure of patients’ health or personal information on Slack will be subject to the same legislative requirements as the patient’s medical record or internal emails that contain health information.
Slack at Western Health is secure, Australian Privacy Principle compliant, and the data collected is hosted in Australia.
Western Health is currently investigating a long-term platform for communication between healthcare staff, similar to myBeepr.
Quick Reference Guides for Slack are available to help staff with:
- How to sign up to Slack
- Joining another Workspace
- Setting up your Slack profile
- Channels and Sending messages
- Collaboration features: Huddle and Canvas
- Clinical Use Guidelines for Slack at Western Health
Conversations on Slack which include UR numbers and patient details constitutes health information. As such, disclosure of patients’ health or personal information on Slack will be subject to the same legislative requirements as the patient’s medical record or internal emails that contain health information.
To the extent required by the Relevant Legislation, Western Health will take reasonable steps to:
- make sure that your information that we collect, hold, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up to date; and
- protect your information that we hold from misuse, interference and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
It is crucially important that staff ensure they are complying with these policies when discussing their patients on Slack.
Clinicians should ensure that any health information relevant to a patient’s care that is conveyed over Slack is also included in the patient’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Communications made about a specific patient that impact the management and intervention for the patient should also be documented in the EMR.
This helps to ensure there is an enduring record available to all clinicians regarding patient care and complies with our legal obligations as mentioned above.
Q: Does Slack provide read receipts for messages?
A: No, Slack does not provide read receipts for messages. You won’t receive confirmation when someone has read a message you sent.
However, Slack does provide an indicator to let you know if you’ve read messages, assisting you in keeping tabs on your message history. To mark messages as unread to come back to them later: Tap and hold a message, then tap Mark unread.
Q: Is there a web version of Slack?
A: Yes, there is a web version of Slack. You can access Slack through your web browser without the need to download or install any additional software:
- Go to the okta My Apps Dashboard (https://apps.wh.org.au).
- Click on the Slack App icon.
- You can use Slack’s full functionality directly in your web browser.
This is convenient for clinicians who prefer to use Slack on computers (e.g. WoW) where they may not have the desktop application installed.
Which browser is suitable for running Slack?
Slack requires the following version or above in order to operate properly:
Please update your browser to the latest version if you are having difficulties opening Slack.
If you require assistance with Slack or come across any issues, there are several avenues for support:
Digital Health Website, Quick Reference Guides, and Slack Help Centre:
- As a starting point, visit the Digital Health website and refer to the Quick Reference Guides for information and guidance.
- You can also explore the official Slack Help Centre for support: https://slack.com/intl/en-au/help
Peer Support (Public Slack Channels)
- Ask in existing public Slack channels where peer support may be available. Clinicians within these channels can share their insights and offer assistance.
Contact the Digital Health and DTS Teams
- The Western Health Digital Technology Services team and Digital Health team collaborate to offer support for Slack-related matters. They are available to address your concerns and inquiries.
- To report issues or request further assistance, you can log your Slack-related queries through the Western Health Service Desk portal.