Do You Know Your GDPR Practice Responsibilities?

author

Jack Peploe
Veterinary IT Expert
February 21, 2022

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Every Veterinary Practice's day-to-day activities include storing and using information, such as individual names, past and present, employees, suppliers, network, and clients. As a result, GDPR compliance is critical, and if GDPR does not get followed correctly, you can expect to stop trading entirely.

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What is the Purpose of GDPR?

A new regulation was required to ensure that you adequately safeguarded EU individuals' data in the face of increased worldwide data exchanges and privacy risks. Regardless of where the data was getting processed globally, this protection had to get extended to all EU persons. All EU residents have the same privacy protections, regardless of where they live, because the law is a rule that all EU governments must follow. The General Data Protection Regulation went into effect on May 25, 2018.

Importance of Being GDPR Compliant

There will be a widening spectrum of personal data covered by the law, significantly impacting veterinary practice. Personal data gets defined as any data that you can use to identify an individual, either alone or in conjunction with any other data you currently have or expect to acquire in the future. IP addresses and location-based information get included in this. Whether the data is for marketing or essential to your practice, veterinarians handle a large amount of personal data on a daily basis. You must therefore make certain that you comply with the following GDPR principles:

  • Fairness and Transparency

Your use of the data must be based on consent or legitimate interest, and the customer or prospect must have access to all the information they need. You need to be clear with your customers about why you're collecting and using their data.

There will be no additional processing for unrelated purposes: You must verify that data obtained for one goal does not end up getting used for another one.

  • Proper Data Management

You should only collect information about a client or potential customer that you intend to utilise and that is relevant to the goal of your investigation.

  • Proper Data Storage

You should retain customer/prospect personal data no longer than necessary to achieve the goals you obtained. In addition, you must make certain that the information you have on your customers and prospects is correct and current. Up-to-date data is critical if you intend to use it for profiling and segmentation.

  • Compliance Through Documentation

You will need to record your compliance with the criteria above to prove compliance with the GDPR. There will be significant changes in many organisations due to GDPR compliance, particularly the responsibility principle. Having a solid data governance system is the best approach to ensuring the correct records are getting retained.

The Costs to Non-Compliance

For the most serious regulation violations, fines of up to £17,000,000 are possible, so all practice' need to understand their responsibilities under the GDPR. Any regulatory action (even if there is not a fine) will severely harm an organisation's reputation with prospects and consumers. Regulatory action could even result in financial losses surpassing a regulatory penalty, including customer and business loss. If you haven't already begun preparing for GDPR, you must do so, as the cost of non-compliance to an organisation could be crippling.

What are Your GDPR Practice Responsibilities?

That is a very broad question, and the answer will be different for each practice. Certain classes of training will have similarities, which will make compliance easier. However, the best practices on every veterinarian’s compliance action plan will fall into three broad categories.

  • Well-Informed

To become well-informed, the appropriate staff within the practice must understand their responsibilities and rights under GDPR, necessitating proper training. Owners, Partners, and Board Members will most likely require training and continuous CPD to understand their obligations.

Some practices will be required to hire or designate Data Protection Officers at some point. At the very least, these individuals will have participated in more in-depth training courses to obtain some level of accreditation. In reality, many organisations requiring a DPO will hire one like they would a health and safety consultant.

Selected practice staff will require more limited and focused training to understand how GDPR affects their roles and actions affect the larger business. You could theoretically deliver this training through e-learning.

  • Compliant

A data mapping exercise (DME), regardless of the scale of the practice, is a data datum from which you can take all subsequent practical actions.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) will almost certainly be required after the DME for any data processing that potentially puts personal data at risk. For instance, data transfer to other practices (DPIA). Once the DPIAs have produced recommendations, you must set the recommendations into action.

  • Protect Data Rights

As soon as a company's data processing is up to snuff, it must get the informed consent of its data subjects before marketing to them via email or postal mail. As part of the GDPR, the sending of vaccine reminders falls within the six principles and six different legal justifications for processing certain data categories for specific purposes. The GDPR provides certain rights to data subjects and imposes a legal obligation on businesses to respect them.

Clients in the veterinary sector are likely to see the most significant shift regarding consented data use, which gets covered by the GDPR and will need both practices and agencies to make practical changes to remain compliant. The GDPR, as outlined above, is substantially broader than that.

Conclusion

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that enterprises safeguard EU citizens' data and privacy. However, the rule also stipulates that data sent outside the EU get monitored. In April 2016, the European Parliament passed the GDPR, which replaced an antiquated 1995 directive on data protection.

To achieve the eligibility criteria under GDPR, businesses in all 28 EU nations must follow the same set of laws, which may necessitate significant investments. Accordingly, despite the high costs of GDPR compliance, the requirements have become mandatory due to growing public concerns about data collection and storage.

Just to sum it up, GDPR is a serious matter that you should not take lightly. The regulations should be implemented immediately by all businesses that process EU personal data, large or small, to protect their customers. As a result, there is always room for long-term business prospects in a safe atmosphere.

Veterinary IT

Veterinary IT is the United Kingdom’s first IT support company entirely dedicated to veterinary practices. Their services revolve around the technological systems that vets should have, network security, how to choose software, and some less technical company development and industry news.

Ultimately, many different apps provide opportunities for the veterinary industry to consider the care and conviction owners hold toward their pets. Using these apps to communicate with clients helps you engage with them completely differently and creates a bond of trust and authority that will serve your business well.

Book a FREE 15 minute consultation with veterinary IT expert Jack Peploe