The Cloud - And Patient Health Information

Everyone says they know what the cloud is. But technology keeps changing its definitions and services. One thing that is not changing is that the cloud provides a proactive and secure online storage solution that can help protect and store your patients health information.

Say goodbye to your local hard drive or a paper files

Many medical and healthcare providers use the cloud everyday and as long as the service provider and systems are used properly, and correct protections are in place, the cloud could be one of the easiest and safest ways to protect a patient’s personal information. With so many choices now on which cloud provider to utilise, the benefits of cloud-based storage often outweigh any perceived 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 digitised and uploaded to a remote server. The data can then be downloaded or delivered to the user upon request, on any authorised device, like Google Cloud, AWS, 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. 

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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 practising privately and medical practices and hospitals 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, unauthorised 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.”

Speak to the experts

If you are considering cloud-based storage, it is important to speak to IT consultants and legal expertise to understand your obligations and the steps you must take before transferring personal information to the cloud. 

As Medical indemnity Insurance providers in Australia, Tego will cover your practice with medical indemnity insurance, medical malpractice insurance, doctors indemnity insurance, medical practice insurance, GP medical indemnity insurance, and more. If you are a medical practitioner with Tego, your medical indemnity insurance comes with 24/7 medico-legal advice and support. 

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitutes 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. 

All content on this page has been written in a generic way, and has not been presented with any knowledge of your personal objectives or financial needs.