Compliance with GDPR is essential for all organisations operating in the healthcare sector, but vulnerabilities in documentation management could be putting you at risk.
The use of paper files and records present the healthcare sector with numerous hazards that have the potential to be avoided. These include:
One of the primary risk factors associated with paper usage is the continued reliance on fax machine technology. The outdated technology presents its own risks as well:
Use of paper should be reduced in order to improve compliance with the GDPR. But how can your healthcare organisation achieve this goal?
The introduction of online faxing technology can reduce the need for paper while improving compliance with the GDPR.
Compliance is boosted by cloud faxing because:
Establishing cloud faxing with eFax is easy. Gaining immediate access to digital services, pav-ing way for eliminating paper from your faxing process, can improve GDPR compliance, and your organisation can continue to communicate by fax.
GDPR — General Data Protection Regulations —launched in May 2018 as part of the European Union’s clamp down on how da-ta is used and handled by businesses, organisations and non-profits, and any other publicly operating entities. The aim of introducing GDPR was to ensure:
No one is immune to the impact of GDPR. If you manage personal data on behalf of individuals based in the European Union, you will be affected in some way. As the healthcare industry is so often reliant on the use of personal information to offer care and treatment for patients, organisations operating within the sector are impacted by the GDPR.
The result is that compliance with the GDPR is utterly essential for most healthcare organisations. It does not matter if you are a NHS trust operating a huge roster of patients or a private practice — if you have individuals under your care, you will have personal data therefore you must comply with the regulations.
Failure to meet compliance with the GDPR will mean that, if a breach occurs, you could face serious consequences and poten-tially heavy fines. Given that the private healthcare sector is the most vulnerable industry in terms of data breaches, it’s vital that your practice is compliant with the GDPR.
From sending paper letters to using fax machines, it is common to find physical paper documentation being used, stored and shared in the sector. This can create problems for compliance with the GDPR. While you may have increased the security of your digital assets following the introduction of the GDPR, paper documents are still beholden to the new laws. Paper documents that con-tain personal information — be they patient records, prescription information, waivers or contact forms — must be protected.
As part of the GDPR, you are required to offer “data protection by design and by default.” All personal data you manage must be used only for activities that the owner of the personal data has consented to. You are responsible for making sure this happens. Any use outside of their consent is not compliant with the GDPR and could result in legal repercussions.
It is critical that you pay attention not only to how your digital documents are secured, but your paper ones as well.
There are a series of risks associated with the use of paper in compliance with the GDPR — risks that, if not addressed, could result in breaches. These include:
There are numerous uses of paper within the healthcare sector, and one major factor involved in this is the continued use of fax machine technology. Physical fax machines require paper, which results in many risks as highlighted above. However, the fax ma-chine presents its own risks:
In order to improve compliance with the GDPR when it comes to paper usage, one of the simplest and most effective answers is to reduce the volume of paper being consumed by your healthcare organisation. This can be a difficult process to manage.
The NHS has laid out plans to make the health and social care industry paperless by 2020. However, this requires numerous or-ganisations to work together. Predictions are that the paperless 2020 goal is not achievable, at least not completely, and these argu-ments are not entirely without merit. The NHS currently operates over 9,000 fax machines, and many more exist in other organisa-tions in the healthcare industry. Removal of all these units by 2020 seems like a tall order, which means paper documents will contin-ue to play a significant part in the healthcare sector and the GDPR risks will continue to exist.
But, just because the risk exists for others, that doesn't mean it must exist for you and your healthcare organisation. You can act now to minimise the risks to GDPR breaches. How can you do this? By incorporating cloud-faxing technology into your workplace.
Clearly you can’t get rid of faxing — it’s too important to eliminate as a form of communication. However, fax machines are pre-senting your organisation with potential GDPR breaches. Thankfully, there is a way to continue sending faxes without relying on paper documentation. Online faxing services — known as cloud faxing — help provide better security measures to aid compliance with GDPR, while enabling your business to freely send and receive fax documents.
How does it work?
Online cloud faxing is an entirely digital system, with fax sent exclusively over the internet. The platform also allows you to send to, and receive documents from, traditional fax machines. eFax Corporate’s digital faxing solutions are capable of adapting file for-mats to be communicated with both online cloud-faxing powered devices and fax machine units. This means your healthcare organi-sation can maintain all faxing capabilities. However, it no longer has the need to use paper in this process, as all files are handled digi-tally via our mobile application or secure online portal.
Cloud faxing offers: