Like all other sectors, the healthcare industry collects, stores and uses data. The market for big data in the global healthcare sector is expected to reach $42.8 billion by 2024.
When a negligence claim is being investigated, this patient data can prove extremely valuable. In this post, we’ll look at how medical and patient data is handled during a negligence investigation claim. The article is focused specifically on the NHS in the United Kingdom, since that is the requested focus of our content partner. However, most of the same principles apply to other countries’ healthcare systems.
How is data used within the NHS?
Confidential patient data is collected by the NHS from private organisations that offer NHS funded care, alongside NHS authorities, trusts and organisations. The data that is collected can be requested by research bodies such as hospital and university researchers.
The data isn’t used for marketing or insurance purposes and there are a number of restrictions in place to protect the information. In terms of what data is collected, it typically includes personal information such as patient name and address, their NHS number, information about their health conditions and records of contact between patient and healthcare professionals.
How is the data protected?
The NHS follows the laws related to data privacy. Even though the UK has left the European Union, it is still subject to the Global Data Protection Requirement. Even if the company was not forced to abide by the GDPR, it still has similar data protection laws of its own. The healthcare system is forced to follow them and held to an even higher standard than most other industries.
This means that patient data is kept fully secure, it can’t identify individual patients whenever possible and it can’t be used to benefit the healthcare sector.
As part of recent regulations, the NHS must be transparent with the type of data it collects and how it uses it. Public Health England and NHS Digital publish data release registers to show the data they have shared with organisations. They take the protection of patient data extremely seriously.
The handling of patient data during a negligence claim
If a clinical negligence claim is made, patient records can prove important in establishing whether there is a case. Patients can request access to their records under the Data Protection Act 1998. They can also use the Freedom of Information Request. Alternative, a solicitor handling the case can do it for them.
Before a case can be taken to court, there is a pre-action protocol which needs to be followed. Sufficient information needs to be provided to the health care provider, so they know exactly how serious the issue is. They also need to know which records are required for the initial investigation. The solicitor or patient will also need to provide a form of authority which requests the records to be released, signed by the patient.
In order to win a medical negligence claim, patients need to be able to prove an error was made in their care. Their patient records can really help with this, so it is often the first thing you’ll need to get before a claim can be made. Medical negligence claims can be complex so it’s important for patients to seek help from a qualified, experienced medical negligence solicitor.
Big Data Strongly Affects Negligence Claims in the Healthcare Sector
Big data has played a very significant role in the modern healthcare sector. Companies need to be aware of how it has changed the rules of negligence cases. They should take all possible efforts to ensure policies are abided by to avoid these issues.