Data Protection & Patient Privacy in Digital Health

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Dominika Ptach
3 Minutes

The process of digitisation is booming. We can observe a rising number of new digital products and services, with a notable increase in data-driven technologies. Those developing trends also affect the healthcare industry, opening a discussion around the topics of data security and privacy.

 

Data-driven technologies leading the way

The integration of data into health products and services caught public attention, and as with every new subject, it stirred doubts about the security of personal data. 

Health care is becoming to be widely dominated by data-driven technologies. These can be seen across preventative, predictive, and personalised solutions:

  • Preventative tech focuses on monitoring health and using that data to prevent any medical conditions
  • Predictive - Utilises data analysis to foresee health conditions
  • Personalised - aims to collect and combine data for tailored therapies (Ribeiro, 2020)

Those approaches outline the data's influence on the health and care industry, becoming inseparable from our everyday lives. Therefore, privacy and data ethics are growing critical factors. 

Data protection and patient privacy policies 

You indeed heard about GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) already, but there is more to that... 

The health sector is highly controlled, and there are numerous laws and regulations that every provider of health-related products and services must comply with.They ensure that health and care data is secure, moreover appropriately and legally collected, stored, and used. 

Conveniently, all policies and recommended practises were recently collected into a comprehensive document by the Department of Health & Social Care"Guide to a good practice for digital and data-driven health technologies". It aims to address the digital advancements in health tech and to support and educate businesses and innovators about current frameworks. 

SimDH experts will help your business choose appropriate strategies around data &patient privacy through SimDH workshops. 

Good practises/Highlights 

Transparency and trust

Businesses must communicate the way they are handling the data honestly and by considering the users' rights. It is essential to achieve patients' trust and ensure they feel protected when sharing data with the product or service throughout product’s whole lifecycle (including research, testing and the time after the launch). 

The "Guide to a good practice for digital and data-driven health technologies" presents a set of questions that aim to help decide whether the information is processed correctly and lawfully and most importantly ethically. Some of them include topics such: 

  • Reasons for collecting and utilising data
  • Anonymising acquired information
  • Thinking about ways of achieving goals with the least data involved
  • Considering risk and other factors
Compliance

Compliance with numerous policies and regulations sounds like a burden, but it is vital to look at it as an opportunity. The earlier business considers security and privacy implications, the quicker it can implement the necessary strategy and strengthen the trust and connection with its users. 

SimDH Support

As more and more health-related businesses start to leverage data-driven solutions, keeping personal data secure is exponentially more significant. SimDH aims to educate SMEs about such topics and help build and deliver successful health tech products. Moreover, to create a future in which patients don't need to worry about sharing their data.

Do you have a health and wellbeing related idea, prototype, or product that you could benefit from:

  • Product Usability & Acceptability evaluation and strategy
  • Navigating Procurement and Frameworks

Do you need support to launch or test a new-to-market health tech product? SimDH is currently open for applications - but this opportunity will end on Sunday 5th December at 11:59PM. Find out more at www.simdh.com.

 

Ref: 

A guide to good practice for digital and data-driven health technologies - GOV.UK. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2021, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-conduct-for-data-driven-health-and-care-technology/initial-code-of-conduct-for-data-driven-health-and-care-technology#data-transparency

 

Ribeiro, B. (n.d.). Beyond privacy and security: Opening-up' trust' in digital healthcare.Retrieved November 19, 2021, fromhttps://blog.policy.manchester.ac.uk/health/2020/10/beyond-privacy-and-security-opening-up-trust-in-digital-healthcare/