Now more than ever we need to show our online users our privacy policy. Information technology has created a platform where a lot of important information is gathered online, by a very broad audience. It’s not easy to control who is sourcing your information so how this information is interpreted is vital.

Don’t question the need to have the fine print. This post will explain the importance of why it’s a non- negotiable.

Don’t ‘Dis the Disclaimer

Disclaimers need to be found on your website, emails, brochures and all marketing materials.

How often have you not read the fine print and just clicked on the “I Agree” button? The fine print is there for a reason and its purpose it to state the websites terms and conditions and to house your privacy policy statement.

Emails are a very common form of communication. How safe are your emails and do you have the peace of mind that it’s only you reading them? The risks associated with online communication are real. It’s a major challenge for the health care environment as patient privacy is paramount. Yet to survive in this current high-tech world, medical practitioners are challenged with increased requests from patients, other clinicians and third parties for health information to be transmitted electronically. Accommodating those requests, however, creates a risk of breaching a patient’s privacy.

In Focus: Data Breach Statistics

Unfortunately, data breaches are a real part of running a practice and they DO happen.

  • Since the inception of the Notifiable Data Breach scheme the OAIC receives on average 240 breaches per quarter, or about 3.5 per working day.
  • 62% of breaches are due to criminal attack.
  • The health sector consistently comes out #1 for the number of breaches received.
  • Health sector is significantly more likely to have a data beach as a result of human error.

You can read the full reports here

The consistent message, out of the current and previous reports, is that business needs to invest not only in technology and security but also in staff training – upskilling your workforce in privacy awareness and basic security may be your best defence against a potential breach.

Holding Redlich

Medical practices need to ensure that the electronic methods they use to transmit a patient’s medical records are adequately safe and secure. As all health information is sensitive by nature, all communications of health information, including via electronic means, must adequately protect the patient’s privacy.

3 Important Reasons for an Email Disclaimer:

1.Your system has a virus (which you don’t know about), this virus is passed onto the recipient. You don’t want to be held liable for the transmission of any viruses and bugs.

2. You are providing information and advice in your email that is not meant to be tailored, individual or specific advice and as such you don’t want it interpreted as such.

3. If you are sending confidential or commercially sensitive emails you need to advise the recipient of such and include an appropriately worded disclaimer.

Some disclaimers can have a more humorous note to them, but do not ever underestimate the importance of having a disclaimer. Consider them an opportunity to manage risk in the future.

If you neglect to cover this off, and you roll the dice at having someone take you to court and exposing your negligence, heavy fines can apply as well as the cost of reputation damage.