GDPR – Burden or Opportunity?

Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2017 by Venn GroupNo comments

Earlier this month the House of Lords Select Committee published a report on the ‘Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS’. Within this, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners reminded us that “Healthcare professionals love technology generally; it is just getting standardised, joined-up systems that we can use across the board.”

With the ever looming introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) – 395 days left to get compliant – shouldn’t the NHS be concentrating on not only avoiding huge financial repercussions of being non-compliant, but also using this as the ideal opportunity to drive Big Data utilisation?

With no bullet-proof way of knowing whether an organisation will be compliant or not on the 25th May 2018, understanding the new legislation and preparing as much as possible is the way forward.

For the NHS, requirements around the collection, storage and safeguarding of data will be at the forefront of their minds during the preparations for GDPR. This is due to the sheer amount of personally identifiable information (PII) the organisation holds and shares across its networks. Not only patient information on the 64.6 million people in the UK, but also the 1.5 million members of staff it employs. Understanding what data they hold, where it came from, where it is stored, who has access to it and how it can be utilised is an imperative part of ensuring compliance with GDPR.

Normalisation of data across the NHS system will make data breaches easier to identify and to report within 72 hours (the required time to ensure GDPR compliance). It will increase data protection and the minimise risk of data theft. What about the bigger picture?

In ensuring the data the NHS holds complies with GDPR, this paves the way for huge steps to be taken in how this data is used. Whether it’s looking into trends in patient illnesses or reporting on types of treatments being used and the outcomes, the benefits are endless.

So maybe the NHS shouldn’t see the introduction of GDPR as a burden or another obstruction in providing healthcare to the ever growing population, but as an opportunity to really kick-start a digital revolution within the sector, to go further than just ensuring compliance with a new legislation. Take this opportunity to improve the healthcare it provides through proper understanding and utilisation of the data its holds.

For information on how Venn Group have been assisting both public and private sector organisations in preparation for the introduction of GDPR, or for support in preparation yourself please email me on nmurton@venngroup.com.

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