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Patient power and data security in UK healthcare sector

26 July 2016

Dame Caldicott introduced a Review of Data Security, Consent and Opt-Out from the National Data Guardian for Health and Care.

  • The Review is the result of significant concerns by regulators, politicians and the public that sensitive and confidential patient data is not well protected within the healthcare system
  • The Review calls for new security standards and “greater patient power”

In her Forward to the Review, Dame Caldicott states that “everyone who uses health and care services should be able to trust that their personal confidential data is protected. People should be assured that those involved in their care, and in running and improving services, are using such information appropriately and only when absolutely necessary. Unfortunately trust in the use of personal confidential data has been eroded and steps need to be taken to demonstrate trust worthiness and ensure that the public can have confidence in the system.”

  • The Review follows two previous Reviews which collectively produced the Caldicott principles. These principles relate to protection of peoples confidentiality.
  • The Review calls for a new set of security standards which are detailed in the review and are to be put to consultation.

Patient power means that individual patients should be given control over how their sensitive personal data is used and the Review indicates that patients should be educated in the means of opting out of use of their data within the healthcare system when it is for purposes other than direct patient care.

The Review contains 20 recommendations including a public consultation and it will be interesting to see how a balance can be struck between the rights of a patient in relation to their personal data and the public and humanitarian good that can be derived from Big Data Analytics as regards patient data.

For further information please contact Robert Bond on +44 (0)20 7427 6660 or robert.bond@crsblaw.com