The Hospify platform will close at the end of January after its “exponential growth curve collapsed” as a result of the Government’s decision to suspend relevant terms of the UK 2018 Data Protection Act.

At the beginning of the pandemic, it was announced that the terms of the act would be suspended in relation to health care for the duration of the crisis, and that industry professionals can freely use non-compliant consumer messaging platforms to communicate without fear of disapproval.

Therefore, for the last 18 months there has been no urgent need for Hospify’s services, and the decision has finally been made to discontinue the platform on January 31 2022.

Hospify confirmed that following this date, “all Hospify accounts will be closed, all user data will be removed from the platform, any outstanding subscriptions will be repaid and the service will be suspended”.

In a letter to Hospify users, the Hospify Team said: “Without the demands of compliance driving users to our service we have found it impossible – with a few honourable exceptions – to attract sufficient clients and investment to pay our way.

“This difficult situation has been further exacerbated by the post-Brexit uncertainties surrounding the future of the UK’s data adequacy agreement with the EU.”

Hospify is a communications platform designed specifically for health teams and patients and was founded in 2014 by two NHS surgeons and a digital platform specialist. Their founding principle was to build a platform that, like the NHS, is free at the point of use – without exploiting users’ data or compromising their privacy.

The free health care messaging app was launched in February 2018 before the Hospify Hub was added in 2019, which enabled institutions to create their own branded communities within the larger Hospify directory and access features such as broadcast messaging and surveys.

In 2020, the paid-for Web App was launched, along with a full API. When the Covid pandemic struck, Hospify became the first clinical messaging app to be made available on the NHS Apps Library.

The company has announced that they will continue to exist after 31 January while they “explore new markets in the EU and other regions in which health data protection is taken more seriously by governments and properly enforced by their respective regulators”.

Hospify believe this is just a farewell for the time being and they will return in the future. If the Data Protection Act is reimposed by the Government in the UK, the company will reassess their options. They ended their letter to users by both thanking and apologising to them.

The Hospify Team said: “It’s a sad end to a wonderful vision, a vision of universal health care communication that was both free of data exploitation and free at the point of use.

“We can only apologise sincerely to those who have backed us for not managing to realise that vision and thank them and all of our users – many of whom have been with us from the start – for their unstinting loyalty and support.”