Data Cleansing to comply with GDPR – Private Practice Hub

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance is important to us. But what is GDPR? In short, it is a legal framework which sets out guidelines for collecting, processing and storing any personal information about others obtained during the course of running your business. GDPR was brought into effect in May 2018 to protect the privacy and security of individuals personal and sensitive data.

It is a very broad subject in itself and certainly not one that we will attempt summarising here. For the purpose of this article, we are going to explore some key points around keeping data clean (by way of data management) for GDPR purposes.

As a professional practitioner there’s a high possibility any paper and digital records you create and use in your day to day practice will contain personal client data. For a start you have client consultation notes, invoices, diary appointments, handwritten notes, treatment plans, referrals … the list goes on and all of which most probably have some kind of personal identifiable information relating to your clients such as email address, tel no, health, sexual orientation, religion etc. and therefore GDPR will apply.

During times of change, many therapists will be considering different ways of working or even just taking the time to review the systems and processes they currently have in place. With GDPR in mind, here are a few of the measures you can put into place to help get you started:-

  1. Refresh or familiarise yourself with GDPR – take a look at some basic concepts from the information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
  2. Audit the data you have – carry out a quick review of what data you hold and where you keep it
  3. Review the information you hold – data should only be collected for specified, explicit or legitimate purposes and only be processed in a manner compatible with those purposes
  4. Organise – when gathering information, some data will need to be kept for different periods of time so consider intended use, legal requirements and how easy or not it will be to keep any relevant information up to date etc. and whether any such data can be anonymised
  5. Storage – any relevant data gathered should be held for a legitimate period of time (no longer and no shorter) for the right purposes, in a safe and secure place … this doesn’t just mean plugging in the shredder and fueling it with data rich records!
  6. Implement a data protection policy to ensure and demonstrate compliance – ensure to outline the roles and responsibilities for anyone handling (processing) the data from collecting, storing, securing, updating and disposing of data
  7. Consider using a secure practice management system, designed and built with the function to help practitioners comply with GDPR

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has helpful tools and checklists to help improve your knowledge and understanding of data protection compliance which will help to underpin the information in this article.

If you would like more business advice to support you in running a private practice therapy business, Private Practice Hub is a leading business advice website packed full of free resources.


Can online therapy mitigate coronavirus?

There’s no getting away from the news that is dominating the press at the moment. We are experiencing a global pandemic of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s widespread and it’s a public health crisis.

The UK government has implemented special measures in an attempt to contain and mitigate the virus. Public Health England is advising health professionals, businesses, schools and other organisations to protect yourself and others against the spread of Coronavirus. Working arrangements might have to change.

This level of extreme disruption, challenges and disaster we are faced with will increase demand for the services provided by therapy and coaching professionals and also the way in which therapy is delivered. Online Therapy could be the answer for many health professionals due to its low risk in terms of spreading disease. But are you equipped to carry out your therapy business online?

Having a resilience and disaster recovery plan in place means business can continue even when work practices change. But not many small businesses already have one of those in place. The government has published free downloadable guidance on business continuity planning.

Private Practice Hub is a UK leading business information and advice website designed to help small business owners, therapists and coaches run a business.

In addition to this resource we also bring you the Online Therapy Hub website which is specifically for those already working online or contemplating this way of working. We offer tips and resources to point you in the right direction and aim to help you develop your online presence, then your online practice and, perhaps ultimately, the way you work therapeutically online.

We can help you with the tools you need to coordinate all you do and operate efficiently as an online therapist wherever you might be working. From understanding and engaging potential clients, marketing yourself in a digital world and making sure you have sufficient security measures and software in place to protect clients confidentiality, data and privacy.

Membership is absolutely free with access to a variety of articles and resources ranging from the very basics to the more advanced including business plans, marketing strategies, financial advice, administration, support on professional issues and exclusive special offers. Join here today.

We’re here to support you in maintaining the effectiveness of your professional therapy or coaching activity wherever you might be working. Get in touch today to find out more

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