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Why Data Protection is Critical in Healthcare Protecting Patient Privacy and Trust



GDPR services for healthcare settings and organisations helps the staff of a healthcare institution to understand the obligations and duties they have as guardians of patient and staff data. There is so much personal information about patients, staff, and third parties within these scenarios, with communication occurring daily between staff and patient families, third parties, and the patients themselves. Outsourced data protection help with processing and storing this data in a careful, respectful, and secure way. This is a legal requirement but also a necessity on a level of trust, an important part of the relationship every healthcare setting has with its staff and patients.

GDPR in healthcare

GDPR was enacted into UK law in 2018 as the Data Protection Act. It ensures that all medical and healthcare organisations have legal obligations as to how they manage and process all personal data. This complements the existing NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) and requirements for Caldicot Guardians. This has helped to raise standards with data security within healthcare and it has also given greater powers to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to impose fines of a substantial nature for healthcare organisations that don’t comply with the regulations.

The use of data and how it is processed and stored is constantly evolving. When you consider the impact and shift in artificial intelligence (AI) in just recent months you can see why there is a need for flexible regulations relating to data and a robust approach to how healthcare in particular protects the data of its patients, staff, and third parties.

What is required of medical and healthcare organisations in terms of GDPR?

Legally, medical and healthcare organisations must follow all other organisations in the following:

  • Have the utmost transparency in how they process personal data

  • Have the capability to detect, manage, report, and respond to any data breaches

  • Understand the data they process and who has access

  • Implement robust processes and procedures to protect all personal data

Within a healthcare setting specifically, there is a requirement for patients, staff, employees, local authorities, family and next of kin, as well as all other healthcare professionals to have the following:

  • Access to their personal data

  • Ensure all data about them is correct

  • Have the option to modify any data that is incorrect

  • Delete any data that they wish to (unless it is required for legitimate reasons)

Healthcare and medical organisations must also appoint a data protection officer (DPO) if they are a public body, use the data for automated decision-making, or they process data on a large scale.

Different GDPR services for healthcare

A good supplier of GDPR services for healthcare organisations understands the need for an all-encompassing and robust process to ensure that data is protected. This can include some of the following services:

Caldicott Guardians – A Caldicott Guardian must be appointed by NHS and social care organisations to ensure compliance with the National Data Guardian’s data protection principles.

DPO appointment – in some cases there will be a need to appoint an outsourced data protection officer (DPO) to look after the specific data needs and legal requirements, helping to organise a data protection framework to meet all compliance.

Review of existing GDPR compliance – this includes the current data protection policy, tweaking and drafting new contracts, agreements, and compliance documents.

Management of data breaches – training, guidance, and advice for all people within the organisation who deal with data, helping to prevent data breaches, and putting in place clear processes in the event of a data breach.

Training and policy updates – on-going training to all staff to enhance the overall understanding of data privacy and all information rights issues for patients and staff.

Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) – The NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) is an online self-assessment tool that helps process NHS patient data. Advice and guidance through this annual assessment could be crucial in meeting compliance.

Benefits of Data Protection Services for healthcare

Working with specialist data protection services brings with it a range of benefits for a healthcare or medical organisation. They ensure that the latest developments and issues within data protection are understood, and that processes remain robust yet flexible, protecting the data of patients and staff at all costs, a critical component of the required trust between all parties in this environment. A designated DPO works directly with your team, implementing tough data privacy policies and processes that are easy to follow and solution driven.

Data protection services from a professional company with the experience and skilled team will help any healthcare setting to protect the privacy of its patients and to ensure that the integrity of data and data security is secured for the healthcare trust. There is so much information and data held about specific patients, personal information about staff, and data relating to third parties and suppliers. Making sure that there are clear policies and processes in place to deal with GDPR is important for the many reasons outlined in this article.

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