GDPR is now only a month and a half away, which means businesses all across the UK are scrabbling to make sure their systems are ready to handle the tighter data protection rules. But for some industries, the new regulation provides much more of a challenge than others. One of those is care homes, who are still struggling with compliance even now. But what exactly are the challenges, and how can care homes overcome them and become compliant in time for GDPR to take effect?
The Problem For Care Homes
You see, care homes use and store a lot of personal data. In fact, it’s some of the most personal data there is. Along with simple things like name, age and address, care homes create personal care plans, have access to medical records and the details of relatives to boot. When you look at the sheer volume of personal data a single care home holds, it’s not surprising that 80% of healthcare providers admit that they’re still not completely prepared for the looming GDPR deadline.
We’ve talked about what GDPR means in general before, so we won’t go over that again. But for care homes, the important thing to know is that there are eight principles guiding GDPR and the approach to personal information:
- Data must be processed lawfully and fairly.
- Processing of personal data must only be done for a specific identified purpose.
- Only the minimum personal data required for the specified purpose is to be processed.
- Personal data must be correct and up to date.
- Personal data should not be retained for longer than necessary.
- Processing of personal data must be carried out in accordance with individuals’ rights.
- Personal data must be kept securely.
- Personal data transferred outside of the EU must be adequately protected.
These 8 simple rules will transform, the way data is sourced, used, protected and disposed of, in a way that has never been seen before. This applies to patients, employees, and anyone else you are holding the data of, both digitally and in paper form.
Understanding Care Home Data
In order to be compliant with GDPR, your care home must maintain internal records of processing activities:
- Purposes of the processing
- Description of the categories of individuals
- Categories of personal data
- Details of transfers to third countries including documentation of the transfer mechanism safeguards in place
- Retention schedules
- Description of technical and organisational security measures
You must also know:
- How is it required?
- Who can access it?
- Where is it stored?
- How many copies are there?
And not only do you need to know these things, but you need to have records of them too, to prove your compliance with GDPR. For small, simple businesses who don’t handle much data this is proving a challenge – but for care homes it can feel almost impossible. The good news is, there is a solution out there that can handle most elements of GDPR compliance for you, without creating a headache for your staff!
The Answer? Go Digital
Digital technology has evolved so quickly that now there is a simple and effective way to manage your compliance. Digital content management solutions are designed to optimise record keeping and streamline workflow while eliminating paper data (because that’s covered under GDPR too). Using our content management solutions, care homes can tag any data that contains personal information, so that it can be easily located and deleted if requested. This also allows files to be managed effectively, and permissions can be set to ensure no one without the proper authority can access certain documents. You can also add custom tags, to help you identify things like signed consent to use data for each person.
Our solutions also utilise a single central data repository, so there are never duplicate copies of data files within your system. Instead, all terminals access the same document from the repository remotely, without making copies or risking data breach. At the other end of the data chain, you can set automatic archiving and deletion protocols to manage the destruction of data when it’s no longer needed. You can set a specific date for destruction, a time period for archiving or even custom protocols that work with your facility’s needs. By choosing to go digital, care homes can ensure 100% compliance with GDPR and other regulations, without a lot of hassle or effort to do it.
Going digital also has some other benefits for the care industry. For example, digital care records have been proven to enable better patient care, better analytics and more information available to care providers. It also gives providers greater transparency, visibility and control, and improves communication with relatives. It also efficiently wipes out the least secure method of record keeping in care homes – paperwork – significantly reducing the risk of data breach.
At Tipac, we provide custom designed content management solutions, designed to help businesses work more efficiently and be compliant with GDPR. We are already working with many care homes to install these systems, each of which has been designed to fit their needs, with full training provided for all staff. For more information, or to book your free demo, just get in touch with us today.