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20. May 2018, Prague

More Than Three Quarters of Czechs Do Not Know How Their Data Is Processed by Their Physician

Prague, XX. May 2018 - Almost 8 out of 10 Czechs have no information about how their physicians process personal data provided to them, although this data belongs among the most sensitive personal information. The Czech population is cautious when providing data, however physicians are trusted recipients. This is the outcome of a survey conducted by STEM/MARK agency for CompuGroup Medical (CGM) in late April and early May 2018.

General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, becomes effective on 25th May, the directive significantly tightens up personal data protection laws. It will greatly affect the medical sector as well. Patients will have newly a better chance to control how their data is processed by a physician’s office or hospital. Everyone will be entitled to ask what data relevant to him/her a medical provider has, to whom the data is or has been transferred, where and how it is stored and processed and how is the data secured and maintained. Therefore, as of the end of May, physicians may also expect questions concerning protection of sensitive data on top of regular questions concerning treatment form their patients. The fact that the Czech patients do not know how their sensitive data is processed by healthcare providers has been also confirmed by the survey. More than three quarters of the Czechs (77%) stated in the survey that they have no information about how their physician processes the data they provide. If they have the information they were either informed directly by their physician (15%) or obtained the information from another source (5%). Only 3% of respondents said that they had directly asked their physician about how their sensitive data is processed. Namely information concerning identification and contact data, such as birth certificate number (66%), address and place of residence (56%), health condition and medical records (39%), name and surname (39%), date of birth and age (27%), telephone (25%) or health insurance information (19%) are considered by Czechs to be personal data shared with their physicians.

Czechs worry about their data, but they trust their physicians

Answers of the respondents also indicate that the Czechs are rather careful when providing their personal data. 79% think before they share their data, 19% of them even very carefully and every time. They are this cautious in many areas of their life (shopping, finance, telecommunications etc.). However, healthcare sector that is highly trusted by the Czechs, represents a certain exception in terms of exercising due care when sharing personal data. Almost one half (44%) of Czech patients admit that they are only little or not at all cautious when providing their data to the healthcare sector. However, there are 20 % of respondents who declare great care in relation to the health care segment as well. „Health care provision and patient treatment have always been based on trust, and this is not only about trust in physician’s professional accountability, but also in other ‘professional’ aspects being taken care of in a physician’s office. The survey results indicate that although Czech patients trust their physicians in how they process patient´s sensitive data, they are cautious as well. If there is something beneficial about GDPR, it is the growing awareness of proper data protection among physicians and patients. We at CGM do maximum for physicians to cope with the GDPR issue without unnecessary administrative burden while maintaining the trust of their patients. Although GDPR implementing regulations are still missing, one thing is for sure – there will be more requirements for healthcare establishments as well as physicians,“ comments on the results of the survey Vladimír Přikryl, CEO of CompuGroup Medical ČR, and adds: „Still, it is good to see GDPR as an opportunity for defining correct processes in this area delivering patients the level of protection they deserve.“

Special software to help accommodate the GDPR requirements

Physician’s offices may find it difficult, time- and technology-wise, to comply with the stricter GDPR requirements. The necessity to completely review health records of all patients in their database and patients’ consents to processing of their data, hardware and security software updates, requirements for anonymisation and maintaining of patient data or data encryption and protection during transfer to another physician – all these things may represent a heavy burden for a small physician’s office. eAUDIT tool specially developed by CGM to implement GDPR in physician’s offices can help physicians to solve many of these problems. CGM eAUDIT will assist them in defining a data protection process for their office, structure patient data and demonstrate how to protect the data while using it.

The survey for GompuGroup Medical ČR was conducted by STEM/MARK with 502 respondents in late April, early May 2018.