Healthcare Brexit survey – putting data first

Martin Warren, cloud solutions marketing manager at NetApp, comments on the findings a new survey exploring concerns of IT decision-makers in the healthcare sector over data sovereignty, Brexit and GDPR

  • NetApp unveils results of a new survey looking at concerns of IT decision-makers in the healthcare sector over data sovereignty, Brexit and GDPR
  • Healthcare respondents are optimistic about the impact of data regulation, with (47%) saying GDPR has had a positive impact on the financial performance of their organisation
  • However, the sector is split when it comes to practising compliance, with 53% already meeting guidelines and 46% on their way to being compliant
  • Despite high levels of optimism and progress, 29% agree that Brexit-related data sovereignty concerns will eclipse GDPR worries

Q. Do healthcare organisations need to worry about Brexit?

A. The Brexit countdown is now in its final stages and as the nation holds its breath for the 29 march deadline, most are wondering what lays ahead.

Brexit may have divided the nation, but regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, everyone will experience the impacts of this historic change – even the healthcare sector.

One of the key Brexit-related issues at the forefront of those minds in healthcare, especially those in the IT departments, is related to the implications for data compliance.

If, or when, Brexit takes place, healthcare organisations will need to ensure they are ready to pivot to ensure they remain compliant once outside of the EU

Q. Why is data a Brexit issue for the healthcare sector?

A. Healthcare is no longer an analogue sector – in fact healthcare organisations are now data-driven hubs.

But I’m preaching to the converted. From patient records to streamlined care with mobile devices and centralised information systems, as well as AI powered research promising to cut-down the time to solve critical health challenges; data-driven technologies provide the baseline for care.

In which case data privacy continues to be a sensitive issue, as medical data is perhaps the most personal.

GDPR currently protects patient’s data privacy which, in turn, instils a level of patient trust which will ultimately enable future progress when it comes to technological innovations in healthcare.

But if, or when, Brexit takes place, healthcare organisations will need to ensure they are ready to pivot to ensure they remain compliant once outside of the EU.

The sector is currently split when it comes to practising data compliance: over half (53%) are already meeting guidelines and 46% are on their way to being compliant. So, it seems that Brexit worries are justified in the healthcare sector.

Q. Are healthcare organisations worried about Brexit and the implications for their data?

A. A NetApp Survey of CIOs, CTOs and IT managers from healthcare organisations found that a quarter of respondents (24%) believe Brexit-related data sovereignty concerns will significantly outweigh GDPR concerns and 29% believe they will even eclipse previous concerns.

These are considerable figures, but to contextualise their concerns, healthcare respondents were also optimistic about the impact of data regulation, with almost half (47%) saying GDPR has had a positive impact on the financial performance of their organisation.

While this is encouraging, the sector is currently split when it comes to practising data compliance: over half (53%) are already meeting guidelines and 46% are on their way to being compliant. So, it seems that Brexit worries are justified in the healthcare sector.

A stringent data management MOT checklist is essential to keep their houses in order, to both keep up with current regulations and to prepare for any changes that may arise from a no-deal Brexit

Q. How should healthcare organisations prepare for Brexit?

A. If data is in the hands of a third-party, then organisations must ensure the companies concerned are compliant with the necessary data protection and industry regulations.

A stringent data management MOT checklist is essential to keep their houses in order, to both keep up with current regulations and to prepare for any changes that may arise from a no-deal Brexit. This will include, for example, ensuring the cloud service providers tasked with managing an organisation’s data, or any other company based outside the UK – or with data centres and operations outside the UK – are compliant.

It is up to each organisation to know where and which country their data resides in – and there is no room for complacency.

This means more than just knowing where all your data sits, including back-ups and DR copies, but having control over that data so that businesses are able to react nimbly when needed.

This is important in a situation where data is either not being handled correctly, or when a business needs to respond quickly to regulatory changes with a shift in its data management strategy. In order for this to happen, all stakeholders must work collaboratively across organisations to ensure their data management is water tight.

The power is in your hands to batten down the hatches and steer through the smoothest course possible – if, and when Brexit happens

Q. Brexit and beyond: what are the lessons for healthcare organisations?

A. No matter how your organisation is using data, the fact that it is processing personal data means data regulation should be regarded as an essential part of your digital strategy.

As the healthcare sector transforms and makes life-changing progress through digital transformation, the urgency only becomes more pronounced.

The power is in your hands to batten down the hatches and steer through the smoothest course possible – if, and when Brexit happens.

By putting data first, organisations are effectively putting patients first – regardless of jurisdiction.

Companies