HCP compliance requires the collection and reporting of data related to spend on health care professionals (“HCPs”). Requirements vary by countries and states in terms of what data is to be collected and reported and how the data is aggregated for reporting. The purpose of HCP reporting is financial transparency of spend by various health and pharmaceutical organizations on HCPs.
HCP reporting requirements specifically address spend and transparency; however, the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) directly protects the privacy of individuals, the collection of personally identifiable information (PII) and the management of this data, and provides rights as to the use and management of data, regardless of whether the information is collected for personal or business purposes.
Simply stated, GDPR prescribes standards and duties of care for the collection and management of PII for EU citizens. Compliance in any arena is a challenge, but meeting this challenge is an opportunity for you and your organization to further engender trust with your audience.
To provide for data integrity, and accuracy of the data collected for HCP reporting, PII is also collected from HCPs. PII is any data that is identifiable to a specific individual. Some of the most obvious PII is First Name, Last Name, Addresses, Medical Specialty/Specialties, Medical School, Year of Graduation from Medical School, National Provider Identifier, Board Certification(s), etc.). However, data is also collected from these individuals for the purposes of taxation, fulfillment and other purposes. PII collected from EU citizens is PII is to be collected and managed according to GDPR’s requirements.
GDPR also applies to many health care professionals in the United States, a large percentage of these health care professionals are European citizens, and have hold citizenship or are permanent/temporary residents in the United States (according to Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington, 12.5 percent of health care professionals are naturalized US citizens and 10.8% are non-US citizens who were born in Europe) (January 2017). Even if these HCPs are naturalized US citizens, it is likely that they also still hold citizenship from an EU country as most European Union countries provide for dual citizenship.
The simple answer is NO. Why? Trust is the paramount to all data collection and trust is an asset. The best approach is to adapt all data collection processes to match GDPR requirements, as it will mean that your organization is more likely to comply with all privacy requirements and ensure that the data collected will be of the highest quality.
While there are some approaches for compliance that include reading an individual’s IP address to determine whether they are accessing a website and providing data from a location in the EU, this method does not consider whether the person is an EU citizen or not. This approach only indicates whether an individual is accessing the Internet from an EU located Internet provider. Even more importantly, through the commonly accepted use of Virtual Private Networks, Internet traffic for an individual can be routed through any network they select located throughout the world regardless of their actual physical location.
Another approach that some have proposed, is to have different privacy and data collection practices for EU and non-EU citizens. This approach is not recommended as it states to an audience that privacy rights are only recognized for a select group of individuals, and not all individuals that your organization is transacting business. Separate is not equal in any situation.
As trust is the new currency and an organization’s brand is paramount, protect and promote brand equity by adopting privacy standards that engender trust in your audience. Nothing is more important than trust.
Only your organization’s Privacy Statement should be posted for consent in the collection of data.
Obtain affirmative consent when collecting data.
Your organization should display its complete privacy statement in the collection of any data from an individual and data should not be collected if the individual does not clearly and affirmatively agree/accept the policy.
Cookies and other similar mechanisms to track individual behavior, as well as re-targeting or re-marketing should only be used when an individual provides an informed and affirmative consent to their use.
Re-targeting, or the practice of following an individual all over the Web and displaying ads, whether it is to display an ad for the web property/supplier or your organization, needs to be affirmatively consented to under GDPR.
How is re-marketing different than re-targeting?
The primary difference is that re-marketing uses e-mail. However, some analysts consider them the same.
If you visit a web property that displays a consent agreeing to the use of more than a few cookies, or 20+ cookies from the site and 100+ cookies from third-parties, and affirmative consent is provided, is it informed? Can you understand what each of these cookies do?
Cookies should be used to provide for security in accessing data during a browser session and not for creating individual or organizational profiles.
The most common analytics provided by cookies are traffic, demographics, audience, engagement, political interests, segmentation, etc. What does this really mean? Cookies intrude on an individual’s privacy. Even better, in some cases, data from cookies is immediately shared and/or sold to data marts to combine it with other data sources to gain a deeper profile, which in some cases adversely affect the individual regarding credit, employment, etc.
In general, cookies can track these behaviors:
Traffic - Provides a view of the audience by platform (Web/Mobile), country, time period, etc.
Demographics – Age, gender, family, location, income, education, occupation and income
Audience – Purchases, brand preference, vehicles driven, what is watched, etc., may be combined with data from credit reporting agencies, credit card companies, streaming video companies, etc.
Engagement – Passing by, regular visitor or frequent visitor, etc.
Political Interests – Party affiliation, etc.
Segmentation – Identify what parts of a website, authors and articles you like, etc.
Data from cookies can create a security risk for your organization.
The behavior and data based on individual data from cookies, and aggregate data from individuals from the same organization, can create a security risk for an organization, or compromise highly confidential data regarding the organization. This data can be purchased and revealed in real-time to those with interests adverse to you or your organization. Whether it is individual or aggregate data, the data tells a story.