A master class on privacy and data protection compliance for healthcare practitioners

PROPOSED TOPIC: A master class on privacy, rights and digital healthcare: Why a human rights-based approach is essential to protect privacy and the right to health in the development and implementation of digital technologies for healthcare.


Confidentiality and privacy are essential to the delivery of healthcare, where very sensitive personal information about patients is routinely collected, stored and processed. This master class will explore why a rights-based approach is needed in the rollout of new digital technologies within healthcare and digital healthcare systems, and what unexpected harms may occur if it is not.


The following is an outline of some of the key topics that will be covered in this master class:

a) Outline of the interaction between the right to health, the right to privacy, and the legal frameworks that protect them and other human rights. We will look at how these rights are enshrined and are being developed at the international level.

b) Overview of the distinguishing features of health-related data. The master class will explain the various reasons why health-related data can be especially personal or sensitive in character, while also noting how protecting it is central it is to the development and design of new healthcare interventions.

c) An introduction to the core principles of data protection and how they ought to apply within healthcare. This will cover the need for transparency; data collection, minimization and storage; rights of data subjects; the obligations of data processors; the acceptable grounds for processing personal data; and the value of an independent supervisory authority.

d) Exploration of examples of the risks and harms that can arise when privacy and other human rights are not properly protected within digital health initiatives. Using case studies to explore these issues, we will consider what good and bad practice look like.

Overall, a master class on privacy, rights and digital healthcare will provide you with deeper understanding of how privacy rights, health rights and other human rights intersect with each other, what sorts of harms and risks to look out for when designing, assessing or implementing new digital healthcare initiatives, and why all stakeholders should adopt and promote a rights-based approach to health.