8 Best Practices to Develop a GDPR-Compliant Telemedicine App in UK
Caution: If you are here to know telemedicine app features, business model, market, you are at the wrong place. Because here we are talking about telemedicine app law – the law that may cost you 10 million euros!
The best thing about the telemedicine app business is that it is thriving. And the worst thing about the telemedicine app business is that it is regulated!
In other words, you can’t run a telemedicine app as per your wish. You have to follow regulations enforced by the government.
And to make sure you’re following regulations, you have to own a law-compliant telemedicine app.
Talking about the law, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the major law that applies to your telemedicine app in UK.
Your app should be GDPR-compliant to avoid a fine of up to 10 million euros.
But what is GDPR?
Every telemedicine app collects, stores and shares the personal information of the patients.
Thus, to govern all business activities that involve the data, the government imposed the privacy law named GDPR.
It gives the supreme power of data ownership to users, not to app owners.
But does GDPR apply to me?
Yes, GDPR applies to every business operating in the EU. It also applies to organizations that are situated outside the EU but perform business activities with an organization based in the EU.
But which data has been classified as personal data?
GDPR classifies every data that has the link with the identification of the users as personal data.
It includes names, addresses, mobile phone numbers, social security numbers, email addresses, financial information, biometrics data etc.
Here, it is worth noting that the IP address of the users’ devices and device ids are also considered personal data.
So, after this basic introduction, let’s talk about the GDPR requirements you need to satisfy to develop a GDPR-compliant telemedicine app in UK.
But before that, you need to understand key GDPR definitions.
Knowing these GDPR definitions will help you understand GDPR requirements easily
• Data Controller:
You own a telemedicine app and you decide what to collect, store and share. You are called a data controller.
• Data Processor:
Any third party entity that processes the data on behalf of you is called a data controller. AWS is the best example of a data processor.
• Data Subject:
The user of your app whose data is processed is called the data subject.
Moving forward to primary learning,
8 most basic GDPR requirements to develop a GDPR-compliant telemedicine app in the UK
If you are planning to develop a telemedicine app in UK, you are advised to have a firm understanding of the steps necessary to meet GDPR requirements.
You are also required to have a workable strategy for GDPR guidelines implementation.
The following are the 8 steps that help you draft a GDPR compliance implementation strategy and make your app GDPR compliant.
1. Keep GDPR compliance requirements in mind from the app designing
Privacy by design is a very useful concept that has attained popularity in recent years.
It emphasizes the practice to ensure that you are well aware of the data collection, storage and sharing guidelines from the app designing phase itself.
You need to filter out the personal data of patients that you are going to handle.
Because GDPR asks healthcare entities to only handle those data which are required.
Here, you should also list out all technical and non-technical steps you are going to take to assure data privacy.
Such practice eliminates the possibility of privacy gaps found after the app hits the market.
2. Document SOP to handle data
You must document all steps you will put in place to handle the data.
This document should answer a few basic questions such as where you are going to store the data, how will you verify the data, who should have access to data, how will you make sure the data storage is secure etc.
This will help the development team to add features into the app that will make it easier for you to follow the SOP.
This step also includes the strategy to ask and receive the consent of the users before collecting, storing and sharing their data.
3. Share your data handling method with users
Only applying the best strategy to handle data does not help you anyway.
You should also make your users aware of the way you are collecting, storing and sharing their data.
You should also make users aware of the third-party services your app uses to accomplish a task.
4. Have GDPR-compliant customer service department
The users have the legal right to ask you the way you are handling their data. Users can also ask for a copy of their data. This is called the Subject Access Request.
If a user asks you so, you have to respond within 30 days with a satisfying response. For any complicated request, your customer service team has up to 3 months to respond.
To satisfy such a requirement of the GDPR law, you need to have a dedicated app module in the admin panel from where the customer service team can easily read users’ requests and respond to them.
5. Allow users to manage their data
Article 17 of GDPR law gives a very important legal right to the users.
Under this article, the user can ask the data controller to delete all of his data from all systems. And you as the data controller must delete it.
To simplify the process, your telemedicine app should have a feature that enables users to delete their data stored on your database directly from the app.
If not this, your app must have at least a dedicated form from where the users can ask you to delete their data.
6. Sign Data Processing Agreements
You have to share your users’ data with other third parties for processing as you simply cannot have the entire in-house IT infrastructure.
Before partnering with any third party, you must make sure that he is providing GDPR-compliant service.
If the data breach happens at your side because of their privacy gaps, you will be counted as an equally responsible entity.
Thus, to avoid any confusion or conflict, you should sign a Data Processing Agreement and get a clear understanding of how those third parties will process the data of your users.
7. Get instant notification of data breach
You must notify the national supervisory authorities if the data breach occurs.
With more such incidents, the government is narrowing the deadline for businesses to notify national supervisory authorities.
Once weeks, now they give you only 72 hours to make disclosure of the data breach.
Meaning, you should implement some advanced surveillance technology that keeps an eye on your app & the data you store and alerts you for any risk or incident.
There should be also a well-defined strategy to handle data breaches.
8. Encryption is the key!
The underlying purpose of any data privacy law is data security. And there is no better way than encryption to secure the data.
Additionally, for every external communication from your app, you should use SSL and HTTPS.
For instance, if your app is connected to your website and your app shares sensitive details with the website, you have to make sure that you are using SSL for connection from your app.
The data you store locally and the data backup you take should also be encrypted.
Finding this complicated? Don’t stress out more. Get an already GDPR-compliant telemedicine app in UK at $8000
Developing a GDPR-compliant telemedicine app requires more efforts of compliance consultants than business experts, app developers and app designers.
Thus, it increases the required resources and cost dramatically.
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