IWD2022: Better Healthcare Without Compromise
To mark International Women's Day 2022's theme of "Break the Bias," this week our office will provide tips and focus on privacy and technology concerns that affect women.
“HealthTech” is a term that refers to the new era of combining healthcare with technology-based solutions. Technology is useful in the health industry to improve diagnostic methods and accurately monitor health to alert health professionals. Mobile apps and devices aid in collecting and tracking large amounts of health information, and cloud-based services increase the ease of access to patient information.
Health-related entities now use more technology than ever, so it is critical for these organisations to understand data privacy. Health information is identified as sensitive personal information, so medical and health organisations and professionals must take purposeful steps to protect data belonging to patients.
Women have unique healthcare needs, and technology has truly enhanced the experience for many females. "FemTech" is the combined word for the transformation of the emergence of female health and technology and is focused on empowering women to take ownership of their wellbeing.
FemTech is visible in numerous areas of female health, including the management of digital fertility & birth control, providing medical insight and emotional support throughout pregnancy and post-birth, and using artificial intelligence to aid medical imaging devices menopause. Direct services, such as online prescriptions, social media communications, & virtual consultations with medical practitioners, are also modern forms of doctor-to-client engagements that collect sensitive personal information.
Data protection regulations, like Bermuda’s Personal Information Protection Act and other global privacy best practices, call for greater security and protection of sensitive personal information. Women should feel empowered to question the practices of health organisations that demonstrate concerning behaviours regarding the protection of personal health information. Unfortunately, at times FemTech has collected more personal information than needed or shared the information in unexpected ways. A report by the International Digital Accountability Council researched the practices of FemTech apps and found some even violated their own privacy policies.
Individuals with questions about the safeguarding of health information, or concerns that their information is not being protected by an organization, can register a complaint with the PrivCom office. Through advice and guidance, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Bermuda assists individuals with understanding privacy rights and registering complaints. We offer practical guidance for organisations with data protection, privacy, and security best practices, and creative solutions for unique privacy challenges.
To reach out to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, please visit our Contact Us page.
Rights and responsibilities relating to data privacy are set out in the Personal Information Protection Act 2016 (PIPA). Bermuda's PIPA received Royal Assent on 27 July 2016. Sections relating to the appointment of the Privacy Commissioner were enacted on 2 December 2016, including the creation of the Office as well as those duties and powers relevant to its operation in the period leading up to the implementation of the whole Act. The Commissioner works to facilitate the advancement of consequential amendments to other Acts in order to harmonise them with PIPA.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Bermuda (PrivCom) is an independent supervisory authority established in accordance with the Personal Information Protection Act 2016 (PIPA).
The mandate of the Privacy Commissioner is to regulate the use of personal information by organisations in a manner which recognizes both the need to protect the rights of individuals in relation to their personal information and the need for organisations to use personal information for legitimate purposes, among other duties.
The Privacy Commissioner's powers and responsibilities include monitoring the processing of personal information by both private- and public-sector organisations, investigating compliance with PIPA, issue guidance and recommendations, liaise with other enforcement agencies, and advise on policies and legislation that affect privacy. PrivCom also works to raise awareness and educate the public about privacy risks, and to protect people’s rights and freedoms when their personal data is used. The general powers of the Privacy Commissioner are outlined in Article 29 of PIPA.
Alexander White (Privacy Commissioner) was appointed by Excellency the Governor, after consultation with the Premier and Opposition Leader, to take office on 20 January 2020.
Privacy is the right of an individual to be left alone and in control of information about oneself. In addition to the protections in PIPA, the right to privacy or private life is enshrined in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 12) and the European Convention of Human Rights (Article 8).
"Personal information" or data is a defined term in PIPA that means any information about an identified or identifiable individual. Examples include names, dates of birth, photographs, video footage, email addresses and telephone numbers. "Sensitive personal information" is a defined term in PIPA that includes information relating to such aspects as place of origin, race, colour, sex, sexual life, health, disabilities, religious beliefs, and biometric and genetic information. (Note: This is not a complete list.)
"Use" of personal information is a defined term in PIPA that means "carrying out any operation on personal information, including collecting, obtaining, recording, holding, storing, organising, adapting, altering, retrieving, transferring, consulting, disclosing, disseminating or otherwise making available, combining, blocking, erasing or destroying it."
About International Women's Day: Marked annually on March 8th, International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn't enough. Action is needed to level the playing field.