Data Privacy in
Constantly changing regulations and growing complexities necessitates the need for healthcare organizations to focus on data security and privacy
Healthcare and Privacy
Patient privacy is a ubiquitous problem around the world. Digitization of health and patient data is undergoing a dramatic and fundamental shift in the clinical, operating, and business models and generally in the world of the economy for the foreseeable future. This shift is being spurred by aging populations and lifestyle changes; the proliferation of software applications and mobile devices; innovative treatments; heightened focus on care quality and value; and evidence-based medicine as opposed to subjective clinical decisions—all of which are leading to offer significant opportunities for supporting the clinical decision, improving healthcare delivery, management and policy-making, surveilling disease, monitoring adverse events, and optimizing treatment for diseases affecting multiple organ systems.
As per many studies, the potential privacy risks associated with sharing biomedical data have been found to be real. Due to the increasing need for data sharing and analysis, health care data privacy is now at the center stage of many legislations.
eHealth & mHealth
mHealth refers to mobile applications that provide information to both patients and their care teams. These applications can do things like monitor prescription adherence, log the patient’s heart rate, and track fitness levels. Ex: Fitbit, Google Fit, Samsung Health, and Apple Heart Study etc.
eHealth refers to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies.
Major laws governing privacy in the healthcare industry
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, abbreviated as HIPAA, is a US law passed in 1996 guarantees healthcare privacy. HIPAA protection applies to anyone wanting to create a health-related application for the US market. The whole point is to ensure the security of users’ medical records.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) came into effect in Canada in 2000. Under PIPEDA, entrepreneurs are responsible for gathering, processing, and disclosing personal records, including those collected via an app.
PIPEDA defines personal data to include general information like names, identification numbers, and credit and medical records
The Brazilian General Data Protection Law, the Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados Pessoais (LGPD) can be considered as Brazil’s answer to the GDPR – with the Brazilian law aligning with the European Regulation in many ways, while differing in others. In general terms, you can likely assume that the LGPD will apply to you if you either process the personal data of people located in Brazil or process the personal data of anyone, regardless of nationality, within the Brazilian territory
General Data Protection Regulations applies to any organisation operating within the EU, as well as any organisations outside of the EU which offer goods or services to customers or businesses in the EU. That ultimately means that almost every major corporation in the world needs a GDPR compliance strategy.
The Privacy Act applies to any organization with an annual turnover of at least AUD $3M. However, small businesses with less turnover must also comply if they:
- Operate in healthcare
- Buy or sell personal data
- Serve as a contracted service provider to the Australian Government
- Are accredited by the Consumer Data Right System
The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’.
There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information, such as health and medical records.
Do you need to comply with privacy regulations ?
Whether you’re building a health app for hospital use or for individuals looking to be proactive about their own care, you should understand that till the time your app is collecting any health and medical related information or even when you are servicing another client or company which is obligated to comply with privacy health regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, UK- DPA etc. chances are high that you must comply in sense and spirit with such laws. A violation can cost dearly to you.
Even when you are not yet obligated legally to comply you can opt for information security protocols like ISO 27001 or SOC 2 compliance to keep your business and data safe and secure and mitigate risk.
What should be my next steps ?
A good start would be to understand the level and nature of the data that you handle and in which all jurisdictions do you operate or target customers. Secondly, have you been obligated by your clients to comply with privacy regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, PIPEDA, LGPD, etc.
Once this information is ready you can connect with us and our experts will craft the most suited program in terms of budget and timeline for you.
To stay in control and to see a positive change with these evolving systems, experts recommend that healthcare providers create a foundational privacy practice. To enable robust privacy practices, organizations need to have stringent policies, tools, and processes to respond to breach notifications and data privacy requirements.
Even if you are not sure still as a good start, you check out 9 Cybersecurity practices that a small business must adopt to sanitize your business operations.