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Office urology

Presented by
Dr Stefan Heansel, Franciscus Hospital Rotterdam, the Netherlands
EAU 2019
The new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), implemented on 25 May 2018, has practical implications in daily urological practice.

Dr Stefan Heansel (Franciscus Hospital Rotterdam, the Netherlands) explained how GDPR may influence clinical practice because we cannot spontaneously gather data anymore without asking the patient for consent in a specific and structured manner. The main purpose of GDPR is: (1) to establish the right of control and access to personal data, (2) to protect the rights of patients and confidentiality of personal data, and (3) to ensure that all health organisations are able to prove that they meet GDPR standards. GDPR applies to public data (name, address, birthdate), genetic data (“inherited or acquired genetic characteristics of a person which give unique information about the physiology or health of that natural person”), and health data (“data related to the physical or mental health of a person, including the provision of health care services, which reveal information about his or her health status”). Important take-home messages were that sharing data is allowed between institutions and does not require separate consent, meaning that an office practice can always consult with colleagues at the hospital without approaching the patient specifically for that purpose. The conditions are that the exchange must be appropriate, limited to what is necessary for the patient’s immediate health, and that the other institution is also bound by professional secrecy. Examples of approved transfers of data are referrals, transmural video conferences, or additional information from earlier consultations. The main message is that transfer of patient data should not be discouraged by GDPR, but that organising your network properly will facilitate optimal treatment of your patients within the constraints of this law.

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