Patient Health Information and the Cloud

Do you know what the cloud is? Are you wondering if this online storage solution can help store your patients health information?

Traditionally, health information has been stored on a doctor’s local hard drive or in a paper file. But times have changed.

At Tego Insurance (providers of Medical Indemnity Insurance and Medical Practice Insurance), we use the cloud everyday and we are confident that as long as the correct protections are in place, you too can enjoy the ease of the Cloud.  Ultimately, though it is a matter for the health provider or organisation to decide whether the benefits of cloud-based storage outweigh the risks.

What is the cloud?

The cloud is a network of servers and software (usually in different locations) that run on the internet. Data is digitized and uploaded to a remote server. The data can then be downloaded or delivered to the user upon request, on any authorized device, like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox. 

The Advantages of the Cloud

You can access stored information on any device with an internet connection; and information can be ‘locked’ in the cloud so if you are hacked (your hard drive), the hacker has no access to the data.  

The Disadvantages of the Cloud

At Tego Insurance, we want to minimize the risks. There is always a chance that information stored online could fall into the wrong hands.

Australian Privacy Law and the Cloud

“The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act) regulates management and use of personal information (which includes health information) in Australia. Doctors practicing privately and organisations that provide a health service or hold health information are required to comply with the Act and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and are classified as APP Entities.

Before transferring personal information to the cloud, APP Entities should obtain patient consent. A tick-box on the patient information collection form will generally suffice.

APP Entities are also required to take reasonable steps to protect personal information held from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. These obligations apply whether personal information is stored on paper, a hard-drive, or on the cloud.

It is important to note that if a cloud provider breaches the APPs, the APP Entity that holds that personal information may be held accountable.”

Tego Insurance to the rescue, medical indemnity insurance experts

If you are considering cloud-based storage, our team can provide tailored advice about your obligations and the steps you must take before transferring personal information to the cloud. 

In Conclusion

The Tego Insurance team are experts in healthcare and technology issues. Do you have questions about how you should deal with the cloud?  If you do, please contact us! Tego Insurance offers Medical indemnity Insurance and Medical professional indemnity insurance for healthcare professionals. We have a profound understanding of the Australian healthcare profession and the ever-changing healthcare industry. It’s this expertise that allows us to provide leading cover with more choice, innovation and greater flexibility. 

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information.