How GDPR Affects the Healthcare Industry: 5 Things to Know

How GDPR Affects the Healthcare Industry: 5 Things to Know

Different factors affect the healthcare industry. It’s important to know these influences to make informed decisions about your business and how it will be affected by the new regulations.

One of the main changes is the fact that all data must be stored in a secure environment, which means that any health information that could identify an individual must be kept confidential. This includes patient records, billing information, medical images, and other sensitive data.

This is where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes in. GDPR has many implications for the healthcare industry, and this article will discuss what you should know about this regulation.

What Is GDPR?

In 2016, the European Union (EU) set rules and guidelines to protect personal data within their borders. This is known as GDPR. As of May 25, 2018, all organizations were required to be GDPR compliant. The goal of GDPR is to protect the privacy rights of individuals within the EU. 

According to the official GDPR website, “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU.”

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Those who fail to comply with GDPR face heavy fines. These include fines up to 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million euros, whichever is higher. As such, GDPR compliance is essential for any organization that collects or processes data from anyone in the EU.

How Does GDPR Impact Healthcare?

There are several ways that GDPR impacts the healthcare industry. Here are a few examples:

1. Patient Privacy

Patients who visit a doctor’s office expect their private information to remain private. Under GDPR, healthcare services must protect all of this information. Doctors must obtain consent before sharing any information with third parties. 

The GDPR also defines three types of “health data” that require special protection. These include data concerning health, genetic data, and biometric data. This information is now classified as sensitive personal data under the GDPR, meaning healthcare services cannot share it without explicit permission or consent.

Healthcare services need to keep this in mind when they deal with individuals from the EU. Any patient information that is collected must be handled carefully. Doctors and other medical professionals who share this information without obtaining proper consent may be fined.

2. GDPR Compliance Checklists 

To ensure that healthcare services comply with GDPR, they must follow a GDPR checklist. These checklists help companies understand what needs to be done to comply with the new regulations. They also provide recommendations on how to handle certain situations.

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A GDPR compliance checklist also requires companies to clearly define their data privacy policies and make them easily accessible. So when patients sign up for a service, they can tell patients exactly what will happen to their data. It also informs authorities about their protocol if there is an issue with the data.

3. Data Breach Notification Requirements

Under GDPR, healthcare providers must report any data breaches to the appropriate authorities. This includes notifying affected individuals and providing them with contact details. It also requires that the breach be reported within 72 hours.

Article 33 of the GDPR explains the proper data breach procedure in no uncertain terms. The article states, “Where the notification to the supervisory authority is not made within 72 hours, it shall be accompanied by reasons for the delay.”  In addition, information about a data breach can be provided in phases without further delay if it’s not possible to provide the information simultaneously.

4. Technical Measures

GDPR mandates that organizations take technical measures to protect against cyberattacks. As more developments occur in the world of cybersecurity, these requirements become increasingly important.

For example, the GDPR requires that organizations implement two-factor authentication (2FA) systems. 2FA helps prevent unauthorized access to accounts. It offers an extra layer of security that prevents hackers from gaining access to user accounts.

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In addition, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) should be a requirement when contracting with cloud providers. E2EE encrypts data so that only authorized users have access to it. This makes it difficult for anyone else to view the data.

5. Appointing Data Protection Officers

A Data Protection Officer (DPO) is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of GDPR compliance are met. A DPO ensures that all employees understand the company’s data privacy policy and procedures. They also monitor the organization’s progress toward meeting its obligations under the law.

Under GDPR, healthcare services need to appoint a DPO. Since hospitals and other medical facilities collect sensitive patient data, they need someone who understands the importance of protecting it.

The Bottom Line

Healthcare services must comply with the GDPR. The new regulation has many requirements that affect every aspect of business operations. As such, healthcare professionals must understand the changes that come along with GDPR and apply them where necessary. This ensures that patient data remains secure and private and prevents potential fines.

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