Don’t let data fall into wrong hands

Data handling mistakes can be very costly in private practice. Jane Braithwaite and Karen Heaton show how to avoid them.

In our series for Independent Practitioner Today, we have been talking about the importance of having a data privacy and security culture in your practice or clinic.  

We have also talked about the importance of understanding your data, the systems you use to process data, who has access to them and how they are secured.

This month, we look at common data handling mistakes and how to avoid them in order to reduce the risk of data breaches. 

It may – or may not – surprise you to hear that the vast majority of data breaches are down to basic human error, especially given the amount of attention paid to cyber security. 

So how we do minimise the chance of a data breach in general and particularly those caused by human error?

It is wise to remind ourselves why we should concern ourselves about data security. A key driver for taking these steps is, of course, the risk of high penalties under the data protection laws – governed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Higher risk

These risks are higher for medical practices because they naturally have to process a range of high-risk special category data and, in particular, sensitive medical information.