New guideline offers better protection of patient’s rights in Georgia

An advisory guideline was created for medical service providers and patients to ensure high standards of personal data protection. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 17 May 2016 - 13:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

Action has been taken to better protect the rights of patients and prevent unlawful leak of medical information in Georgia.

The Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector of Georgia adopted a range of recommendations related to how the medical profession processes personal health information.

The recommendations aimed to improve the protection of patients’ rights by providing better knowledge for healthcare workers so they’re fully aware of their responsibilities to keep patient information confidential, and to raise the confidence of people who visit medical and healthcare sectors.

An advisory guideline was created for medical service providers and patients that outlined the various recommendations and rights of patients. This included:

  • What are the principles of protecting the legitimacy of the personal health data process;
  • In which cases can information about a person’s personal health be disclosed to a third party;
  • What are the responsibilities of the medical service providers to protect the safety of the data;
  • The rules of video surveillance at medical service providers’ institutions; and
  • Patients’ rights as a subject of the data.
"Medical service provider institutions are collecting, storing and using personal health data on a daily basis. With this in mind, we have considered adopting the recommendations because sometimes deliberately or sometimes even neglectfully, illegal access, usage, disclose, change or deleting of information, or not protecting the safety rules during data processing could heavily, morally and materially damage the patient and cause the stigmatization of him/her,” the Office of the Personal Data Protection said.

The Office also offered consultations to medical service provider institutions informing them of the recommendations.

The recommendation stressed each patient had the right to address the Personal Data Inspector or the court if they believed or knew their personal data would be/was processed illegally or their information was violated.

The Office of the Personal Data Protection Inspector was established to ensure high standards of personal data protection in July 2013.

The activities of the Office include:

  • Consulting with public and private organisations on personal data protection-related issues;
  • Dealing with citizens’ complaints;
  • Inspecting the lawfulness of data processing in Georgia; and
  • Informing the public on the data protection situation in the country and other related issues.