The GDPR has had a huge impact on the health sector and it is quite possibly the industry that has been hit the most by the changes coming into force. By its nature, the healthcare sector, medical practices, and websites such as the Incision website that offers medical indemnity insurance, all collect a considerable amount of personal data so that they can deliver the right services to their patients and clients.
Under the GDPR, how this data is expected to be managed has dramatically changed. In the healthcare sector, patients have been given much more control over how their personal data is collected, handled, and used by the GDPR, and there are massive fines for medical practices and companies which do not fall in line with these changes.
Here are a few ways that the GDPR is going to have an impact on the healthcare industry.
#1: GPs Will Need Data Protection Officers
This is one thing which is going to hit medical practices quite hard, especially smaller ones. Under the GDPR, there must be an appointed data protection officer for every health practice throughout the EU, and this person is tasked with safeguarding personal data and ensuring GDPR compliance.
Luckily, each practice does not need its own individual data protection officer; it is a role which can be shared across multiple different practices. The specifics of the data protection officer vary by jurisdiction. In England, this person must be provided by NHS England.
#2: It Puts Patients in Control
Historically, healthcare has been a private affair for patients. In spite of this, however, many healthcare professionals share test results and other patient data with multiple practitioners in-order to settle on a diagnosis, often without the patient being aware of this.
Patients up until now have never had the opportunity to gain insight into how data is collected and with whom it is shared, where it is stored, and who can access it.
Medical practices should not be put off by this, though. Giving patients more control over their data will improve patient-practitioner relationships; consumers have always appreciated organisations being open and transparent, and healthcare is a business like any other, even if it is free at the point of access for people in the UK.
#3: It Increases Practice Responsibility
A major goal of the GDPR was to reduce the possibility of data breaches and provide a mechanism for reporting them to the relevant authorities. Under the GDPR, medical practices need to understand how patient data is collected, stored and protected, both digitally and on paper.
The GDPR states that any data breaches, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, must be reported within 72 hours of them taking place. If practices neglect to do this, they can be served with hefty fines.
This is a positive change as it means personal data is safer and better looked after. The natural response for the healthcare industry in light of this is for healthcare professionals to take care of any data they hold and view their responsibilities seriously. Although health care in the UK is mostly a public service, healthcare professionals with access to data are in no way inclined to cost the NHS money through their negligent handling of personal data.
The GDPR came into force during 2018; it is something that none of us have been able to escape or ignore. Although it has an impact on virtually every single organisation around the world – even those outside the EU – one of the industries it has the biggest impact on is the healthcare sector, especially healthcare practices within the EU.