Saving lives instead of protecting data – risks of the GDPR

Details 22

Table of contents

Saving lives instead of protecting data: Risks of the GDPR

Data protection endangers patients: High data protection in the German healthcare system inhibits medical progress & costs human lives

Is German data protection a curse or a blessing? On the one hand, we are afraid of surveillance, data transfer and manipulation, on the other hand, we blindly accept all terms and conditions, post private information on social media and are happy about personalized campaigns. So where should the line be drawn between data protection and data sharing?

Data Release
Saves lives. This is because the targeted and secured disclosure of personal data can not only support the
and innovation in our own country but also directly affect the lives of every individual. This is the case, for example, in medicine, where access to information about physical or mental health can make the difference between life and death in an emergency.

This significance is also the
German Society of Internal Medicine (DGIM), which is
which is vehemently in favor of relaxing guidelines and regards the current data protection practice as a risk to the health of many patients. for the health of many patients.

Data protection in the German healthcare system

To protect the privacy of our citizens, the unauthorized collection, storage and disclosure of personal data not permitted in Germany. Instead, each person should be able to decide for themselves to whom their data is made accessible.

This sounds very plausible in theory, but in practice it also means that no data for medical or scientific purposes may be collected, stored or forwarded. Although this would benefit both the general welfare and the welfare of the individual, the legal situation for the medical sector is even more stringent.

This is because health data is particularly sensitive personal data, which therefore also requires a particularly high level of legal protection. high level of legal protection enjoy This includes any data that relates to an individual’s health status or reveals information about past, present and future physical or mental well-being.

These data are available in particular to hospitals, doctors’ practices, care facilities, health insurance companies, pharmacies and research institutions, but even the communication between these facilities is difficult due to the DSGVO is not permitted.

To make matters worse, in addition to the current data protection regulations in the healthcare sector, there is always the duty of confidentiality grips. Information to which hospital personnel have access is subject to medical confidentiality – a Violation can even be prosecuted here. Data protection in the healthcare sector is thus even doubly safeguarded.

Global data protection in comparison

Germany is falling further and further behind other countries in the digitization of the healthcare system. The reason for this is the Strict application of data protection and the uncompromising interpretation of the GDPR. Thus, practices and digital solutions that are commonplace in many other industrialized countries continue to be blocked in this country:

  • DenmarkEach patient has a personal identification number under which all medical data is stored centrally so that any doctor can access it in an emergency. This allows faster action in the ambulance and easier detection of undetected drug side effects.
  • China: Patient data is used for the development of artificial intelligence, some of which we also use in Germany, such as in endoscopy.
  • Scandinavia & Benelux: Health insurance numbers may be used for research purposes to study the consequences of diseases, therapies and medications. – Israel: Remote diagnosis and treatment via video are a natural part of healthcare.
  • Estonia: Every citizen has an electronic medical record to which they can give access to individual doctors or all medical personnel. He can also view the results of his examinations, medication schedules and vaccination data online at any time.

Diffuse fear of data misuse inhibits progress

While other countries artificial intelligence, innovative technologies, and new medical devices, the While we are developing new technologies that we sometimes also use in Germany, we are denied this progress in our own country. Due to data protection, no health data may be disclosed, even if it has a higher goal. Data protection always seems to come first in Germany.

A Combined solutionwhich on the one hand keeps the risks for patients as low as possible, but on the other hand provides relevant data for research, is still in the stars. Instead, physicians and nurses must spend a disproportionate amount of time on appropriate data use and spend more and more time at the computer instead of at the bedside.

It is estimated that more than half of the working time in hospitals nowadays takes place at the PCalthough successful digitization should actually have the opposite effect.

Data security instead of data protection

Unavailable health data meant a risk for every individual and could even have life-threatening consequences in extreme cases. Even the DGIM and assesses the data protection practiced in Germany data protection as a risk for the health of many patients.

In April 2022, Europe’s largest medical society with around 28,000 members publicly speaks out against the very, very high level of data protection in Germany and demands corresponding Relaxations.

On the one hand, it criticizes the lack of exchange of important patient data between between hospital departments, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, which delays treatments and complicates diagnosis: If the emergency physician doesn’t know how the specialist has treated and is denied access to patient data, that blockade of access can cost lives.

On the other hand, the DGIM points out that Germany is lagging behind in terms of medical progress and research, as the Evaluation of relevant data for study purposes more difficult or often even prevented: If only the immediately necessary personal data and information are requested, this can be Data economy curb clinical trials, distort disease registries, and complicate population-based epidemiologic investigations.

Instead of data protection, the focus should instead be on data security. Congress President Markus M. Lerch therefore calls for documented Access to health data, instead of complete access blocks. The Patient data should no longer protected from use, but from misuse and unlawful use of personal data to be prosecuted under criminal law. be prosecuted.


Data protection impact assessment: relaxations can save lives

Digitization is essential for patient care and medical progress. Consequently, Germany should embrace it as an opportunity rather than see it as a risk. The healthcare system must therefore undergo a change towards more system-relevant data use take place in order to Research at support and the Patient Care at optimize. Because Data protection is important, but Saving lives is more important.

Therefore, we and the DGIM do not demand a carte blanche for the disclosure of health data, but rather a
Coexistence of GDPR guidelines and indispensable exemption provisions.
. After all, data protection today should no longer mean protecting privacy at all costs and turning a blind eye to all other consequences.

Patients have a right to have their health information used for medical purposes to further their own
and the

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash