Many aspects of our lives have 'gone digital'. Consider how we listen to music, share photographs and consume news today.
Misinformation often goes hand-in-hand with these technological innovations. Let’s set the record straight about electronic GP reporting because it's more secure, more compliant and a massive time-saver for GP practices.
What is electronic reporting?
GPs must provide medical information to insurers and respond to subject access requests. Historically, this was a paper-based process. Now, computer software can prepare digital reports for you instead. There are many advantages compared to printing records and compiling information by hand:
- Automatic redaction of non-permitted information
- Encrypt reports
- Add electronic copies of reports to patient records
Electronic reporting solutions for GP practices, such as iGPR, can save a dramatic amount of admin time. Here are the three biggest myths about electronic GP reporting, busted:
Myth 1: It's not safe
Some people are comfortable with paper and only get concerned about security when they move to a digital process. However, electronic reporting offers the same or higher data protection than a paper-based system:
- Automatic redaction helps practices to be GDPR compliant
- Only intended recipients can see encrypted reports
- Patient consent forms are an integral part of electronic information requests
- There's an electronic audit trail of the consent process and the data sent
There's no doubt that electronic reporting is safer than paper.
Myth 2. I'll lose control of my patients' data
Data protection legislation says that you should only share data if the patient gives consent for a specific purpose, e.g. to support a life insurance application.
Electronic reporting gives you more control, not less:
- Explicit patient consent drives the process
- You choose what information to include in the report
- Insurers can submit electronic requests, and you reply to send the report
It improves your ability to meet your obligations as a data controller. You’re in total control.
Myth 3. You'll use my data for other purposes
There is no need for electronic reporting solutions to keep copies of your data, although it may be necessary to hold an encrypted temporary copy of a patient record while the report is processed.
Ask your supplier if they keep your data. If they do, what will they do with it and how does that match the consent given by each patient? Did they consent to this onward use? Think of how that would impact on your role as data controller because you have ultimate responsibility.